Um, so, I, um, kinda got into a *thing* at the Bruno Mars concert. Yeah, I did. Some inebriated woman started pushing and shoving folks when she was confronted about being in the wrong seat in our row. It happened so fast and the next thing I know, this 50-something, stumbling drunk woman pushed Hope hard as she was swinging on someone else. Hope, on one of the happiest days of her young life, started to cry because it was going down in the seats next to her while Bruno was getting his Michael Jackson-Prince-James Brown-Elvis on a few rows away.
Awww hells no!
I quickly donned my angry wolf mama face, deftly switched seats with Hope and assessed the situation. I had to hold the lady back from swinging on the dude who was explaining she was in the wrong seat. I leaned over and spoke in her ear, “Hey, settle down, you are a little out of control, get your ish together, take a break.” I let her go, and she spun around and swung on me, and pushed to try to get past me, stopping in front of Hope.
Say what now? Awww double hells naw.
Hope was now in hysterics (God only knows what kind of trauma memories this all triggered); 3 rows of people were trying to get this lady to settle down or exit.
And I pushed her away from my kid. Yeah, I did. And I’d do it again.
Not proud of putting hands on her but she was out of control, and all I could think was that if she swung on me and a full grown man, what would this drunk lady do to my kid?
She, um, flew, kinda, out of the row (I had about 100lbs on her). After a couple more Bruno songs and several complaints filed by people all around us, crazy lady was tossed out of the venue.
Hope was scared and for a while inconsolable. Seatmates all around were so kind, and for a while, when it looked like security was going to let the lady stay, I thought there might be a full on melee (at a dang Bruno Mars concert??? All the crazy concerts I’ve attended and a melee was going to break out at a Bruno Mars concert?)
And then Bruno started singing Hope’s favorite song—Grenade—and she grabbed my hand and we started to sing.
I’d gladly take a grenade for this kid.
It’s been a crazy week, and I haven’t done a lessons learned bit for a while. So, let’s dig in!
I now know what heaven looks like. Bruno Mars is Hope’s all time, favorite celebrity. Oh she loves him. She was anxious about the concert, freaking out about what to wear, asking questions galore. I spent an absurd amount of cash on those tickets, but the moment that the curtain went up, the pure ecstasy on her face…really, there aren’t words to describe it all. I can tell you nothing else mattered in that moment. It was better than her arrival, it was actually on some short term level better than finalization. It was better than Disney. It was a snapshot in time that I will take with me to my grave. All I could think was being able to give Hope this very moment, this very experience has just crystalized my concepts of the joy of motherhood. There were moments of just watching her that just seemed like bliss. Heaven must be like that. Sign me up.
In my quest for normalcy, I forget that Hope has developmental problems. My wanton forgetfulness about her social anxieties, random phobias and developmental delays, is no good for us. I can see so much growth in her over the last six months, but I also am aware that it’s hard to see the invisible things that still make her different. Many of her little issues are little and over time may, with love and support, may self-correct. But right now it’s hard to deal with meeting new kids and sometimes acting age appropriately. The OCD behaviors pop and things go off the rails quickly. And you know what? It can be embarrassing for both of us. Even more so now; I feel like others feel like we should be “normal;” I mean we’re finalized, we’re legal, there’s permanency, right? It’s hard sometimes being reminded that we aren’t normal, especially in the presence of others.
Someone once called me territorial when it came to Hope. It wasn’t meant to be a hurtful comment, but I’ve struggled with this characterization for a while now. I tried not to be offended. I understand how it must all look from the outside; maybe it’s true. It’s hard creating a therapeutic home where Hope can be safe trying to heal from years of abuse of various kinds and years in the foster care system. It’s hard creating a space where she can wrestle with the invisible problems privately, where I can wrestle with it all privately too. It’s hard realizing that the addition of a new family member isn’t what folks thought it would be. So yeah, I’m territorial and protective even against some of folks closest to me. It’s hard getting side eyes from people who don’t understand why we stay in or why things go nutty when we go out with other people. Six months in and I jarring reminders about how far we still have to go, while celebrating how far we’ve come, which in reality is so very far. Sometimes it feels like we just can’t win. So I escape to the land of denial.
I’m not sure what’s less fair, ascribing feelings of pressure to be normal to others or wishing so hard that we were actually normal, or putting Hope in positions where her behaviors seem characterized as failure when she’s really doing the best she can. It all kinda sucks.
Single parenting is hard. This isn’t new, but when I’m trying to figure out who a backup will be for pickups or trying to plan for fall business trips, it’s a reminder about how I have to try to line things up far, far in advance because I’m alone. I’m working on getting my team of sitters in place so that I can resume some business travel this fall. I don’t know what role family can/will play in helping out over the long haul. I worry a lot. I worry about money a lot, even though I seem to be financially ok. Sure things are tighter than they used to be, but we’re fine.
I appreciate not having to consult folks on many decisions, but I wish I had someone to consult with on others. I selfishly like not sharing Hope, but see such an awesome kid who would also benefit long term from a positive male role model that I wish I had one for her.
The early need to be “territorial” made it difficult to create close sustainable, safe relationships for me and Hope; the expectations about how things were supposed to be were just too much to live up to. We were both burned and got burned, and we’re still recovering and trying to build trust. Consequently, I don’t reach out to folks I thought I would reach out to. I hope that will change. It’s easy to forget that it’s only been six months, so much has happened.
I’m still depressed. Oh, it’s not as dramatic as it was shortly after placement and during our major crisis in Feb/March, but it’s still there. I manage it. I have gotten better as self-care, mostly in getting time away to just be. I still have lots of room for improvements in taking care of me, though. But often, if I’m honest, the blues are just below the surface. The blues oddly coexist with joy in seeing her earn an award at camp, enjoy a concert and get on with a new friend when social anxiety makes things so hard. I’m delighted by those things, and even though my controlled cries are much less than they used to be, they still happen every few days. I wonder when they will vanish.
I am doing well. I’m managing and learning how to ask for help. Of course I have no idea how this coming week is going to go down—why did I agree to a camp that starts at 9:30 and ends at 3:30? Don’t they know people work???