OMG, my first week away from Hope! Lots of mixed emotions about being away. I’m really excited about jumping into work and having evenings free. I’m getting a fancy award and Elihu is coming to join me for a couple of kid free days. I’m taking a couple of days to just lounge and rest when I get back. I’m excited. #treatyoself
And I already miss Hope like mad. She’s texted me a dozen times about all manner of things. She’s anxious and excited, but mostly anxious. I know the challenges that exist when she’s anxious, and that makes me anxious.
But somehow it will be ok. It will. In the grand scheme of things it will be good for both of us for lots of reasons. I need this time to try to really get my work mojo back. She needs this time to be with extended family, have some fun and learn to stretch a little bit.
We’ll have some hiccups, but we will survive.
I’ve been thinking about how far we’ve come since I hit the airport yesterday. She’s such a different kid than she was 6 months ago. Despite her anxiety, she’s more confident about her place in this world now. She has a mom and a family. Permanence has created so many opportunities for growth during the last two months.
Each day I see Hope grow a little more; even on the days that are challenging. She asks questions; we have conversations. I see her happy, I see her sad. I see Hope, and somewhere along the way, her realization that I actually see her made a difference. She’s not a number or a statistic or just some sad story anymore. She’s my kid.
Meltdowns don’t look anything like they used to; I mean nothing like they used to. In fact I’m more likely to have a mini meltdown than Hope is. She is increasingly poised. When Hope melts down, she seizes any opportunity to right herself and show what she’s really capable of to everyone around her. This week her camp teacher pulled me aside and just gushed about her and how well-mannered she is, how delightful she is and just complimented me on what an amazing kid she is. I fought to hold back tears because my heart nearly burst; hell, I’m crying right now thinking about it.
And she’s my number one fan. Last week, we ran into Monty Durham from Say Yes to the Dress at the local Starbucks. She didn’t know who he was but she was amused by my little star stricken moment. When we got home I googled him so she could see who he was. She got the idea to google me, and well, my job is at a national organization and so I popped up on google. By Hope’s definition this means her mom is famous. She has told her friends, her camp classmates, camp directors, people at church the therapist, the checkout lady and the bagger at the grocery store and anyone else who will listen that her mom is the bomb.com. It’s nice to know my cool factor has gone up, but beyond that, Hope sees me too. She sees me like I see her.
I realize how much trust capital I’ve earned over the last 6 months, but especially in the last month. I’ve tried to be consistent. I’ve tried to be judicious in creating opportunities for new stuff—recognizing that to some degree it’s all been new. I’ve wiped her tears, watched squeaky band concerts and bad magic tricks; I’ve sat through creaky voice lessons. I’ve done a balloon release in honor of her dad because she needed to have her own ceremony celebrating his life and their relationship, even if it was really, really complicated. I’ve dragged her to church, figured out ways of answering tough theological questions and discussed her desire to be baptized because I’m no longer dragging her to church; she looks forward to going.
When she recently referred to me as “mom,” distinctive from her “birth mom” it all came into focus that we are really doing this family thing. We are really a “we.” It’s a stunning thing in many ways. On Tuesday it will be one year since I first got an email about Hope from my agency as a possible match. It’s hard to believe that she’s mine and I’m hers a year later.
I just talked to Hope and virtually tucked her in. Earlier today I got a few anxious texts, by this evening she was giving me confident updates on The Furry One, who’s dealing with some serious health issues (sad face). The realization that I might have anything to do with this transformation in her is humbling, beyond humbling. She is hands down the most amazing person in my universe. I’m so proud of her. I’m so excited to see what we do next.
I think this trip away marks the beginning of a new chapter for me and Hope. That’s a pretty exciting.
Gosh, this funny smelling Denver air has got me all extra introspective. No really, the contact that I accidentally got walking down the block…so serious!