So we’re sliding into week three of really lovely, relatively easy times with me and Hope. This respite from drama is so deeply appreciated that I can barely articulate how wonderful it feels. I cling to this time because I know that at any time the shoe can drop and we can be back in stormy times again. But for now, I’m grateful and basking in the light of mommyhood, family time and the ease of life. So, after such a monumental week for me, I’m happy to think about what happened, what didn’t happen and what was learned. Yep, time for the weekly recap!
Watching my kid learn to let go and be a kid is a beautiful thing. Hope’s early years had her really being a caretaker for one of her parents; the experience robbed her of her childhood in so many ways. I find that she really has trouble sometimes learning to get in her lane (the kid lane) and stay there. There are times when she really thinks she is the boss of me. Um, no ma’am. Sit your $5 fanny down before I make change.
In recent weeks, especially since the Great Grammy Visit of March 2014, I’ve really limited her TV/movie watching to cartoons and encouraged all around goofiness. She’s dived into it, and I’ve watched her enjoy all of it immensely. She’s thrived with the restrictions. She’s eager to just not have to worry about ish that she’s really just too young to worry about. She’s learning to trust that I got it, and I’m learning to believe that I got this. too
Earning perks is better for Hope than all out punishments. Hope struggles with negative consequences. You want to really set her off after she’s already pissed, tell her you’re taking tablet time or some other thing that she inherently believes she is entitled to. Girlfriend will lose her ish in 15 seconds flat. Oh I still have to do that sometimes, but I’ve found that “big gets” acquired through earning is a much better way to get her to learn appropriate behavior.
Last week, Hope failed to earn her house key because she insisted that some school kid’s intel on the after school program was better than mine. She quickly realized that momma knows what’s up and you’d better be where I told you to be if you expect to show me that you’re responsible enough for a key. She was salty.
This week she gets her extraordinarily coveted cell phone. She managed to avoid earning the five points that would have prevented cell phone acquisition. She knows that there will be significant restrictions on this phone (so many in fact that I can’t imagine it’s going to be much fun having it), but she’s so proud to have earned it. I’m proud of her too.
Hope is beginning to trust me, like really, really trust me. She tells me things. She tells me how she feels. Sometimes I have to prompt her, but I’m getting better at reading her tells that I can inquire sooner and offer her comfort or safety or whatever it is that she needs to let me in. She looks for me in the house (Lawd, can’t even go to the bathroom by my damn self sometimes); she calls out for me. She asks me what I think.
I’m trusting her a little more too. She asks so many random questions sometimes that my stock answer has become, “I don’t know.” The more she lets me in the more I respond with the answer I really want to say without fear that I’m going to hit a trip wire and send up hurtling right into crazy time.
The amount of self-sacrifice necessary to be a parent and to specifically be a single adoptive parent is starting to get easier. It is really hard though sometimes. Sometimes I really just want to be alone; I’ve had a lot of years alone. I miss my solitude, a lot actually. I miss not having to wait on someone else to get ready to go anywhere and my ability to just pick up and do as I please. I miss sitting down to watch a rated R movie at 7pm on a Tuesday night because I just want to and I needn’t concern myself with exposing a kid to something like that—we’ve watched like 5 G or PG rated flicks this weekend; I really need a cuss word in my life right about now. No really, I do—filth, flarn, filth. I miss being able to just have some pretzels and a cocktail for dinner because I am too lazy to fix real food. I miss cooking real mac and cheese because Hope actually prefers Velveeta shells and cheese (ick). #wheretheydothat? I miss having time, much less disposable funds, to just go buy myself something random. And yes, <hanging head in shame> I am annoyed that she now wants to keep my favorite headband for her hair. Sigh…I’ve been reduced to coveting my own ish from my 12 year old daughter. It was a loan (in my mind) dammit.
And despite all of that, I found myself on the way to work a few days this week grinning, just grinning because my heart was so full of love for this kid. The fact that my eyebrows look like fuzzy caterpillars didn’t bother me one bit. I really need to get them waxed this week; I can’t go on like this. But watching her heal, watching her learn to trust me and to begin to be happy is so achingly beautiful that if necessary I’ll go on looking like Sasquatch, if necessary (I guess).
Hope has an inner girly girl. Hope rocks hard with the tomboy front, but the truth is that there’s an inner girly girl peeking around the bend. Last month she preened hard in her cute little mint green dress at her godparents’ wedding. Now it’s all about the sparkly stuff. Yesterday at Charming Charlie’s she picked out a tangerine colored dress that she’ll wear for Easter. And then she had to look at all the sparkly stuff.
Hope tried on a tiara. #pagingDisneyprincesses
And yes, she seems to have it in her mind that my favorite dressy headband belongs exclusively on her head.
I haven’t gotten her out of those gawd-awful sneakers, but I can see it’s only a matter of time before she’ll be asking for a pair of ballet flats.
Hope and I cross new terrain this week as I begin traveling again for work. I know she’s anxious about it, but I’ve done a lot to try to soothe her and prepare her. She’s vocal about the fact that she doesn’t like that I have to go away sometimes, and I do wonder what this quick trip might trigger for her. Time will tell, I guess. I’m about to start interviewing for additional caregiver help for us this week as well. I’m optimistic! And I’m even ready if stuff goes left this week. It’s all a part of the process, a part of the journey.