Hello, my name is Jenna, and I live together with my husband, Jim, my biological thirteen year old daughter, Liz, and our two dogs, Max and Ruby. Jim and I have been married and a blended family since June of 2016. Just shortly before getting married, we closed on a house that would need a lot of work as it hadn’t been lived in in a long time.
When I picked up Joe* for the first time from school, I saw a tall kid with dyed hair towering over a group of teenagers. The group all wore black and had an assortment of different hair colors and cuts. Joe and I made eye contact. I saw him begin to slowly walk over to me. I next noticed he had wireless earbuds on under his shaggy hair as it flopped around. I quickly greeted him and showed him to my car. I noticed his breathing beginning to get shallow once he stepped into my car. He quickly pulled out his Nintendo switch and turned it on.
The first morning I stayed with the people who became my Legal Guardians, I rolled out of bed to find the father figure in the kitchen gracefully sprinkling garlic salt on a mound of potatoes and eggs, serendating them with his own rendition of “I Feel Pretty.” He looked like a cross between a retired football player and Hagrid from Harry Potter, but sang like a gigantic angel. ([To this day,] I’ve secretly thought of him as my Fairy Godfather). He has always called me, “Pumpkin” and used phrases like, “diglty dangit” when frustrated.
I’ll go ahead and admit it. Wraparound is my favorite program of FCNI’s. I just love it. I love that it is truly a collaborative effort that involves a lot of different agencies--the Department of Social Services, FCNI, Behavioral Health, schools, probation, as well as individuals who are hand-selected by families to be part of their support team.
I have heard it said, “Family is not an important thing–it is Everything!” Having a solid, loving family, however you define “family”, and no matter how imperfect it may be, is a gift. It is an invaluable treasure that you want never to lose. Our Family, clan or tribe, not only shapes who we are and what we believe, it also gives us identity, strength, protection and repose. Humans need other humans to survive. Family is the premier institution for shaping and nurturing individual and community health. Family really is Everything!
World War II is an ugly stain on human history. Millions of lives were lost as a result of the lust for power, sick ideology, blatant disregard for the sanctity of life, and the dehumanization of others. Nonetheless, it served as a rallying point for mobilizing the USA and our allies to vanquish evil and renew a sense of stability and sanity.
Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain. These past few months have been a storm, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to pass quickly. I think it’s time that we accept our circumstances, make critical life adjustments and start “dancing!”
I get irritated when I hear the word "broken" used to describe kids and families who are struggling. Although I hear it less often than I once did--hopefully this indicates that people are becoming more informed--I still hear it used to describe individuals in our world who have behavioral challenges, difficulty coping, poor family dynamics, troubles in their relationships with others, and/or are just suffering with their overall life functions.