I am tired. I am weary. There have been good hours and bad hours. I have had more controlled cries than I’d like to admit. I know I can do this, but there are those sad, sad moments when I wonder how. Anyway, here’s the most recent top five observations/lessons/musings, whatever.
5. Everyday includes a meltdown.
Every. Damn. Day.
We could be going just fine; things can be awesome. Hope and I are getting along. We’re bonding and we’re giggling. And then something triggers a tidal wave of emotion and the wave smacks me in the face full force. Waves of sadness, anger, frustration, roll off of her. Oh it isn’t usually tears. Usually it’s a temper tantrum or a verbal assault. Then there’s the quiet boil. I have no idea what happened. There’s no reasoning with her. I’m left trying to figure out what the trigger was and if it can be avoided, while trying to pretend that my feelings aren’t hurt, and trying to scrape both of us off the pavement so we can get onto the next thing.
It happens every day. Some days it’s several times. Some days it’s late in the day when you are starting to think you might be spared from a meltdown today. Whenever and whatever it is, it’s is emotionally exhausting.
4. I need meds.
My ability to keep the cries controlled is diminishing. I need help. Doc has been called to update a prescription to help me keep it together. Mentally I’m ok, but my ability to control my physical emotional expressions is starting to shake. I’m strong enough to know that I need to get ahead of that; I have neither the time nor inclination to be sitting around physically incapable of being functional during this transition. Oh there will be times when such a thing might be healthy, and I will stop, drop and roll with it. But right now, I need to get through the tasks at hand and I need help. I’m ok asking for it.
3. Culture clashes are real.
I’ve given in on having Top Ramen in the house. She complained about the taste of lactose free milk (which I need), so I bought regular to my own detriment. When she threw a hissy about going to church and going regularly…well, I threw a hissy back.
Yeah, I did that.
Church is important to me. I practically ran to the altar yesterday to ask for special prayer and specifically patience. It is one of the few places I can get my cup filled. And these days, I need that cup filled to the brim (see #5).
She resisted. I insisted. She tried talking in church, I shushed her. She doodled, I allowed that, despite the fact that she was annoyed the pen didn’t work at first and I shot her a dirty eye, snatched the pen and swapped it out with one that did. She ended up crying. I cried all through the prayers.
She talked about how she had never been expected or required to attend church regularly before. I told her this was one of the things I would insist on. It is expected now. She huffed. I puffed. We eventually sat quietly.
It is essential to me that we go and go regularly. It’s ok if others chose to do something different in their house. Very cool, they can do that over there. This is what we do in Casa ABM. I believe it is the right thing for me and my kid. Yeah, this is not up for negotiation. Folks can feel however they feel about it, too.
That said, the culture clash between Hope and I is real. Ugh, we bump heads on all kinds of things. But church is a mountain I will die on. I’m ok with that, but Lord do I need to stay prayed up to get through that clash.
2. Hey, I’ve conditioned us to go to bed at 10pm!
This is probably the only win I feel is concrete enough where I can say it’s an achievement. A pox to folks who are like that’s still too late. Yeah, I’d like for her to be in bed earlier, but getting us to “lights out” at 10pm for several nights in a row without a meltdown is epic. I’m realizing that late evening rewards work well in achieving this goal. I will work it back to 9:30 in time, but 10pm is a coup. It also means I have some quiet time before bed.
1. The chuckles aren’t funny.
Yeah, I’m trying to be a good sport about things. I try to look at the bright side. I post some of the amusing things for friend and family on social media. I see my own strategic error, now. I’d love to think I make this transition look easy, but it’s not. I had a personal meltdown this weekend that had me calling my adoption agency’s support line to help me navigate and pull myself together. I was a sobbing, blubbering mess.
And the social worker laughed at me. I guess she hears these kinds of calls all the time. This was normal for her. It wasn’t normal for me.
Oh she said all the right things. She did help me get through my little crisis. But the exchange made me feel silly for calling. I felt stupid for going to the support line to confide that I needed help. It didn’t matter that I got through the crisis. I felt like I had to lay down what little dignity I had managed to salvage this week to get through it. I felt judged and dismissed. I don’t know if I’ll ever use that number again.
Honestly, I’m feeling dismissed a lot during a pretty vulnerable time. It puts my fledgling parenting skills on the defensive every time.
What I choose to post about this journey is fairly transparent, but it is going to be increasingly sterilized because it’s too much drama to sift through. Without the context, things seem light and easy. Behind the scenes, it’s not. It’s hard. I’m dealing with some very real ish over here.
Many interactions off line and online are just making me consider shutting down most communications with most folks. I know that that’s probably not a good idea either. I need support and lots of it. We live in a culture where support is often heavily laced with a backhanded compliment, normalizing commentary that serves as a dismissal, and competitive experiential sharing. Yeah…no, it’s not really support. I’ve been guilty of all of these behaviors at various exchanges. I’m embarrassed that has taken such a dramatic shift in my life to realize what is meaningful support and how even the most innocuous comment or gesture can change the interpretation of what’s being offered.
Well, I’ve been up for hours thanks to a wicked bout of insomnia, the first since Hope arrived. Grammy will be here in a couple of hours. I hate that I will not be here to “manage” her and Hope’s first meeting, but I have an important work commitment that I couldn’t really bail on despite being on family leave. It Is the only concession I made for that part of my life. I would be lying if I said I was not looking forward to the commute into DC with music with all of the curse words.
I’m committed through getting through today and being the best mom I can be today. That’s all I can really do. Tomorrow can wait for now.
December 3rd, 2013 at 12:15 pm
Praying for you! I know all too well what the early year(s) can be like in an older child adoption! There is hope! Here are some things that you might can relate to or find helpful.
December 3rd, 2013 at 4:53 pm
Thanks for the read Delana. And thanks for the supportive words and the links. We’ve had a rough couple of days and I’m just worn out. We’ll survive. 🙂
December 4th, 2013 at 12:21 am
You will survive…but yes…there are days that you will wonder if you will survive. I remember one early time holding my daughter so that she would not hurt herself and singing “Jesus loves me” with tears running down my face and her screaming the whole time. I thought the song might be more for me than for her…but now it’s her favorite song and she wants to hear it every night.
December 5th, 2013 at 5:13 pm
ABM, I so so hear you. It is rough. I go day by day. The constant opposition is enough to pull out all your dag on hair. People on the outside have a very narrow, “you knew what you were getting yourself into”…type of view at times. It makes it difficult to share struggles. Chin up, lady
December 8th, 2013 at 4:51 pm
Thanks Puddin. Yeah, most people don’t really get it. I have been fortunate to have a couple of confidants who have become enlightened on what’s going on around these parts. Their compassion has been helpful in getting through this rough patch. It is a somewhat lonely, difficult road, though.
December 7th, 2013 at 10:04 pm
It may not help anything, but this is all normal. I remember when we first got (foster) kids, six siblings. A teen and a couple tweens and younger. I seriously thought I was going to lose my mind. I didn’t call my mom for over a week because I knew the sound of her voice would be all it would take to send me into a puddle of tears. Yes, part of it was tiredness from lack of sleep due to a crying baby all. night. long. But most of it was stress of older kids. We respect all ages, but there’s a whole lot more to consider and deal with in an older child. I feel some of your pain.
Just want to say I feel you on the church thing too. Nonnegotiable for us. So thankful my forever kids’ foster family valued church. I attribute a lot of the ease of our transition to Jesus already working in their lives for over a year. I pray that as Hope is exposed to this, she will find that healing a reality in her life too. And become more comfortable in her own beautiful skin in that process. Hang in there!
December 8th, 2013 at 4:53 pm
Yes, it is normal and I have to remind myself of this fact sometimes hourly. God bless you–6! I can barely keep it together with one tween and a 14 yo ornery dog! We’ll get there, slowly but surely. Thanks for the read!