Last night I finished my dissertation defense draft and my presentation for Thursday! Hot dang it, I’m nearly done. It was a great day, though I haven’t had a lot of sleep thanks to the need to finish up and get these materials out the door and to my committee and program directors. Hope and I hit the National Zoo this weekend with her godmother for a lovely, sunny, fun loving day. Monday we had a snow day and yesterday it was 70 degrees—go figure. So, time to get into my introspective weekend posts about what the devil I learned this week.
Hope is really feeling some kind of way about Grammy. It hasn’t been what she’s said exactly—other than a request not to see Grammy anytime soon—but rather it’s just all the little emotional boxes that it opened during the week. The last two days of the visit were hard, and I can tell that some trauma resurfaced. The desire to have a loving, accepting Grammy weighed on Hope more than I understood. This week has been filled with a burning desire to find out whether her paternal grandmother is still alive and if she could see her. So great is her need that over dinner one night Hope asked all sorts of questions about Ancestry.com and whether her bio-grammy needed to be a member in order for her to find her. Poor baby wants her bio-grammy, no doubt because it is a connection to her dad, but also because she doesn’t think this new Grammy thing is going to work out.
I am still feeling some kind of way about Grammy, too. We had a civilized chat today. I don’t know where we go from here next, but I’m wary and I’ve got to protect my kid. Grammy just wasn’t ready and the whole thing freaked her out. That’s all well and good, but the fall out was just too much for all of us. I imagine it to be taste of the abandonment and rejection Hope has repeatedly experienced. I believe this is the Holy Homeboy’s way of teaching me empathy; I really do wish he would take a different tact, but whatever.
We can’t go back but we can go forward, with more emotional guardrails, limited quality time and lots of prayer. I’m serious about learning to practice grace.
Mimi is right; there is a lot of dissonance around how we were raised and how we must raise our kids. Don’t know who fellow blogger Melodi is? Go check out this new mom’s blog and peep her new discussions about reconciling the way she and hubby are raising Nana versus how they were raised. It’s especially easy to say what you’re going to do when you have kids when you don’t have any; and especially so when you’re single like me—I don’t have to consult with anyone on any dang thing (except the host of social workers, but that’s a temporal issue)! It’s a whole other box of bricks when you have a bundle of joy who didn’t spring from your loins and has unique issues that require a wholly different style of parenting. It’s a bit jarring. It also reminds you that things didn’t turn out the way you thought, even though they are great in their own way. It’s just different, not bad, just different and well, different can be hard. I’m sure it also triggers some Grands issues as they see you not following the models that they laid out for you.
Hope really does have to learn how to be happy. We had a visit with a new health care provider this week and during in-take the nurse asked about depression. Hope said, well of course I’m depressed!! Duh. I learned later that while she was happy about being adopted and she cared for me a lot, even loved me, anybody could’ve adopted her and she just wouldn’t be happy like she thought she would be. She has to adapt and she has to learn to trust that this is real, and she has to just let go long enough to believe that she will be safe enough to try to be happy. It is hard to wrap your head around a kid not knowing and trusting to be happy. It’s also hard for outsiders to wrap their heads around why the adopted child can’t just flip the switch after placement and be happy and — an even bigger, more challenging concept—be grateful.
I’ve written before about how Hope doesn’t need to be grateful; and even I’m guilty sometimes in my parenting of thinking, “Really girl? After all the bending over backwards I did this week for you, you can’t say thanks after I went out of my way and picked up another bag of your favorite lime Tostidos??” It’s hard watching her in this space and it’s hard sometimes living in this space, unable to trust the life around her enough to just let go and enjoy it. I can see that some days are much better than others; sometimes I see that her happiness and contentment are truly moment to moment concepts. Down mood triggers can be anywhere and everywhere. It really just takes time and healing.
Hope is still on the come up. So this week after much probing and prompting about where to go out to eat, Hope finally said she wanted to go to the Old Country Buffet (OCB). <gag> ABM does not do buffeterias; call me bougie and I’ll say that’s my name. #jesusbeasneezeguard I just hate the OCB. Now don’t get me wrong; I loved that place as a kid, and I even rocked the hell out of that buffet when I was in college. But when Hope asked to go to the OCB, I silently started praying…And when the heck did a trip for two to the OCB cost $30???? Anyhoo, I found the salad bar better than expected and dug in. Hope filled her plate with all kinds of fare and after a few bites proclaimed 1) that the OCB was not the right place; it must be another buffet (Does this mean we have to go to another one?), 2)her rationale was because the food wasn’t all that good 3) she liked some of the other restaurants we’d enjoyed since her arrival. Training the palate is a slow process, but we’re making progress! At least I don’t need to go to the OCB anymore. Praise the Lord.
Hope and The Furry One seem to have a modest truce. There’s cuddling and snuggling and belly rubs. I don’t know what’s going on, but something’s up.
That’s it folks. In four days I defend my dissertation and shift gears to focus on the administrative tasks of finalizing things. I’m actually too tired to be so excited, but I am excited. I’m taking the little lady to dinner that evening to celebrate. It’s going to be an awesome week!