In all my pre-trip fretting about a near week away from Hope, I did have some concerns for The Furry One, who was recently diagnosed with some serious brain issues. Turns out that Hope was fine, and The Furry One came completely unhinged. My poor, furry, first born was scared out of his mind (he’s also nearly blind and deaf) and no amount of sedatives seemed to knock him out for the count. He came home a shadow of himself, prompting our family vet to have an “end of life” conversation with me as we discussed whether he had what it takes to bounce back. At nearly 15, I’m not sure. I know we have entered the final chapter; I just don’t know how long that chapter will read. I’m nursing him this weekend, remembering all of our years together and teaching Hope the value of life and dignity and how we’re all worthy of kindness, compassion, love and snuggles. She’s also learning that when you’re old and sick you get just about anything you want—The Furry One noshed on a deboned pork chop last night and pizza crusts tonight..
Throughout this week, all kinds of things—good and challenging—have transpired. Here’s a list of things I learned without too much elaboration.
How we behave with our early tween/teen crushes is right out of the Disney-Young and the Restless text book. The things I’ve heard come out of my daughter’s mouth this week are things that a Disney princess with a daytime TV habit would say. I think when we’re crushing we just emulate ish we’ve seen on TV. Gawd, I’m glad I’m grown and have my own script with my own words now.
Sleep is healing. The Furry One is currently sedated with some good stuff. He needs to heal and sleeping pretty much around the clock is essential to the bounce back. We all need more sleep and more rest. It’s healing. Find a way to get that rest. #TreatYoSelf #iwishicouldborrowhisdrugs
Despite needing more sleep, I will sacrifice sleep for cookies and wine. This is becoming a nightly ritual. On the last podcast I mentioned that I’d made cookie dough in anticipation of my return home from the recent business trip. I didn’t get my couple of days of “Me” time, but I’m having my nightly cookies and wine—even if I have to stay up later to do it. #TreatYoSelf
It’s true—have looser reigns at first and you’ll be able to tighten up the house rules later. I know firsthand that it’s hard to believe that not “laying down the law” with older adoptive kids will lead to all kinds of mayhem, but honestly the trust isn’t there to respect all the rules at first. Here we are 6 months in, and I’ve earned the right to have firm rules about stuff in our home. I can “lay down the law” with no issues these days. It works.
The presence of trust allows for healthy purging. We purged closets and drawers today. We did it on the fly and I told Hope the rules—1) you have 15 minutes to purge, 2) if you hesitate toss the item in a secondary pile and come back to it, but keep moving, 3) if there’s a strong emotional attachment it’s ok to keep it and revisit that attachment at the next purge session, 4) itemize, bag and donate immediately. She purged a bag of things—including things that she brought here. She was relieved not to be expected to get rid of things that held emotional connections. Hope enjoyed making room for school shopping and taking account of what she owns. She trusted me and the purging process. We actually had fun.
Hope’s self-esteem is on the come up! Yay! If you don’t read Mollytopia, you should—gosh she’s funny as all heck. This week, she wrote a post called, Make the Game Your Bitch, all about developing her and her daughter’s positive self-image. Well, I played the game with Hope today. I sucked, but Hope? Hope rattled off her three things she loved about her insides and outsides so quickly that I am jealous. It made me proud of her and how far she’s come. She still will claim that she’s “bad” at least once a week, but to know that she sees her body, mind and heart as lovingly as I do made me happy. Go Hope!
Have I mentioned that I’m happy? No really; I know it all isn’t over but I believe the worst, the roughest part of our journey is over. We’ve survived!
Grown up time is essential. I missed Hope and The Furry One while I was away last week, but keeping my own schedule was priceless. I actually took time to put on the good make up and do my hair in more than a puff, piled on top of my head (which is becoming my summer of 2014 standard—I’m lazy, what can I say?). I even wore a couple of new dresses. I worked my fanny off, but I also took time to skip a few receptions, order room service, and cool my heels taking care of me-ABM the grown up, not just ABM the mom. Good stuff. #TreatYoSelf
There’s more, but right now, I’m going to sip on this tempranillo and these cookies and finish watching Law and Order: Criminal Intent before I scoop up The [passed out] Furry One and take him to my room so I can watch him sleep.