The last few days have been nearly dream-like. I’ve loved on Hope hard and just focused on allowing her to just be. We watched movies; we shopped; she talked and I listened. I learned…a lot. So this brings me to my weekly recap of what I’m learning on this journey.
Hope is a kid and despite all the parentification she’s experienced, she wants to be a kid. My daughter is two inches taller than me and has a shoe size that’s significantly bigger than mine. My little girl could easily pass for older than her 12 years…that is until she opens her mouth and kiddie words start spilling out. It’s easy to forget her age and aspects of her naiveté and to have unreasonable expectations of her when I have to tilt my head slightly up to talk to her.
But as I learn to let her be the kid she is and hasn’t had a chance to be, I find that she just blossoms overnight. We’ve been consumed with boobs lately, triggering the need to go bra shopping. Trying not to giggle when I’m having Beavis and Butthead flashbacks (boobies, heh heh heh, bobbies!) as she jumps her long legs around and grabs her boobs like she just discovered them is to see her comfortable, trusting and enjoying herself. She’s really delightful.
Emotional growth requires a lot of patience and energy, but boy is the payoff worth it. Hope and I have been stretched beyond what I personally thought was my own hard limit recently; apparently I was wrong. Last night, after an epic trip to the mall for some shopping, Hope was reflective about her life. She started to share things before we even left the mall, like how the last time we went shopping she was jealous about having to share the attention of a favorite cousin with said cousin’s friend. She admitted how she felt about it and why it triggered a meltdown. It was insightful.
On the way home she started telling me about her life and specific experiences. There’s something about talking in the car, when we can’t really have a lot of eye contact because I’m driving that makes it safe to talk. She told me more details about her bio-parents, what she knew, what she didn’t know, what she’d seen, what had happened. When we got home she was still talking, so I just put the car in neutral and let her keep talking. She was poised, thoughtful, and reflective. At times I could hear how she was still trying to reconcile some of the more painful experiences with our talks about God’s love for everyone.
There was a sudden emotional maturity that I saw in her that made me so proud. I reassured her that I would take care of her and that she was safe now. It’s hard to remember how much work she has to put into this adoption thing and into getting healthy. Sometimes I can’t see that work; it’s been really hard to see her put in work these last couple of weeks. Last night I saw all of the work she’s put in for the last few months, likely the last few years. She amazed me.
I almost want to schedule a road trip so we have hours to talk. All in due time.
Modeling desired behaviors works. I’d seen hints of this lesson since she arrived, but I see Hope watching me and wanting to emulate me. #whoknew?
During the last couple of weeks I’ve had her therapist, my therapist, my agency, my social worker, my friends and my new in-home parenting coach tell me I needed to carve out time for me to take care of myself. So, for Lent I decided that I would work out in the living room everyday. I told Hope that I would commandeer the living room for 30-40 minutes every evening and she would need to watch TV in her room or she could read or something in the living room with me. I didn’t invite her to workout with me. I’ve been working out since she’s been here, but with all of the schedule snafus it’s been inconsistent, but she knows I work out and that it’s important to me. My Lenten commitment has upped the ante.
While I’m puffing away, she’s asking questions and offering commentary: Why do I need to work out? Oh it relieves stress? Will it help me with my TMJ? Core muscles make your back hurt less? Cardio strengthens your lungs so your asthma is manageable in the spring? Hmmm.
Today she did the warm up with me. This from the girl who would have a tele-transporter in the house to get from the bedroom to the dining room if she could.
She’s also wants to take out her braids and embrace her natural hair. This fab blown out fro of mine pushed her over the edge today.
Three weeks with the braids and $200 later, we’ll probably take them out in another week or so, so she can get her twist out on.
Sometimes you don’t get answers. Nope, you just don’t get them.
I mentioned last week that my favorite book of the Good Book is Job. Seriously, I just love the book of Job. Job wasn’t patient, Job was pissed, really, really pissed and wanted God to tell him why all that crap happened to him. He wanted to know why??? God was all like, “Um, and just who do you think you are talking to? I mean, I love you little dude, but um, no, you are not the boss of me and I ain’t gotta answer none of your questions. Stand down.” #ABMBibleStories
Grandpa came to visit today, and like we have many times, we discussed Job. Grandpa reminded me that God never really does answer Job. Job has to reconcile this with his faith and righteousness and just move on.
I kicked this around after Grandpa left today. Admittedly, I was rather peeved with the Holy Homeboy in recent weeks. I prayed and prayed and prayed. He delivered but I just was pissed to even find Hope and I in this crisis at all. Why??? Well there are certainly terrestrial reasons that explain why we suffered a crisis; but I wasn’t trying to hear any rationale about spiritual reasons. Turns out God wasn’t trying to give me any anyway. #dealwithit #shrug
And that’s the topline for this week. Up next, Grammy comes for a four day stay, because you know, when I go in, I go hard. Should be nothing short of revelational. #atouchofsarcasm No really, I need help with drop offs and pick ups this week because of a big meeting, and well, Grammy’s been itching to be in the crib and in the mix. Despite all of our drama I love my mom dearly, but I’d be sho-nuff lying if I didn’t expect (and delight) to see her a bit worn the heck out by Saturday evening; cause Hope is sure to be all the way live by then.
I defend my dissertation in 18 days. #letsdothis When I explained what the defense meant to Hope yesterday, she proceeded to announce to passersby in the store that her mom was going to be a doctor while hugging me and pointing.
And *that* is a moment that I’ll treasure forever.
March 9th, 2014 at 11:28 pm
Okay… I love the growth! I love the ABMBIBLESTORIES! ! I love your fro. I love the bonding. I needed to hear that version of Job for my own self. I am quick to request an answer from Him. He clearly says (in my verbage)..who can improve or add on to Him?? He doesn’t have to explain a thing. My measure of faith will grow in the “uncertainty” of it all because He has already worked it out. I can’t wait to hear how Hope and Grammy do…….. ♡
March 10th, 2014 at 5:46 am
Ha! Hope and I read the Bible several times a week because she has so many questions. She insists on KJV but misses something in translation, so I ‘help’ out. It works. 🙂 Yeah, God does things in his own time and sometimes it’s hard to remember that, but it really is an issue of faith–nothing more, nothing less. 🙂 Thanks a bunch.
March 10th, 2014 at 6:24 pm
Oooo…KJV is serious. I’m not big on some of the new translations but I love having an amplified version next to me.
March 10th, 2014 at 12:52 am
Love the fro AND the gray. My husband thinks I’m crazy because I do not have a problem with my grays. I will rock a full head of them and be FABULOUS like you.
They say that the car is one of the best places to talk to children because they don’t have to look you in the eye and it sounds like you and Hope need to take some extended drives pretty soon. It’s a beautiful thing when a daughter can talk and the mother knows how to listen. Mothers are supposed to be a safe space, they will tell you the truth and love you when no one else will. I’m glad that Hope is giving you the opportunity to be a mother…
March 10th, 2014 at 5:50 am
Rock your gray! I stopped dying my hair about 6 or 7 years ago because it was expensive and time consuming. It was a rough transition, but now I don’t think I’ll ever dye it again. It’s getting much more gray each month (stressed ya think?), but I love it. Hope has also made me fall in love with my hair again too.
Yes, in one of my parenting classes there was a discussion about talking about sex in the car, but I’m finding that it’s the safest place to talk about just about everything. We cover a lot of ground there! Thanks!
March 10th, 2014 at 9:12 pm
My oldest is now taller than me too. She is mistaken for 14 all the time, but when you interact with her you remember that she is definitely still a preteen. And car talks are great. Also supposedly making cookies together can have a similar effect.
Ha, had to laugh about wanting Grammy to be exhausted by the end of the week. I’ve felt the exact same thing about my mom. Left four of the foster kids there once a few years back and it almost wiped her out. She seems to think its different this time around. I’m tempted to let her have a week just to see…!
March 10th, 2014 at 10:46 pm
WOW what awesome growth. I do A LOT of serious talking in the car for my kid to it makes it easier to not have eye contact with me. I laughed out loud at looking up to talk…yep been doing it for years I am short and my kiddos are not. Great work!