This has been a challenging month for me and Hope; as the month comes to a close I realize that it’s been growing pains. The joints that hold us together have undergone a really rapid period of growth that has stressed us and made us both step up in areas and let go in others. So time for the new lessons.
Hope is not the kid she was a month ago, and that’s kinda cool. My going away on business travel was tough on us this month, but Hope seems to have dealt with it well. She’s more self-assured and modestly ( and I mean a smidge!) more responsible than a month ago. In a pinch she can really step up. I’m proud that we discovered this, even if she still wants me to baby her quite a bit when we get home.
Grief continues to cloak our home. It’s tough sometimes, but we’re making progress. Having some meaningful items from her family has made her ability to just openly grieve easier. The loss of the Furry One has affected both of us deeply, but she’s now in an environment where it’s ok to show emotion and it’s ok to just work through the grief. Even though there is a sadness here, it’s healthy. We sit with it as we work through it. I miss my dog. She misses her dad. We miss them every single day and missing hasn’t necessarily gotten easier, but our ability to cope has. I would never admit it to her, but I’m about thisclose to running to the shelter and getting us another dog. I miss the nails clicking on the hardwood floors.
This church thing cuts deep. There have been times when I really rejected going to church. Just all out rejected it. I was raised in church, come from a long line of religious leaders. But organized religion drives me up the dang wall. I hate the preening and posturing. I did and do get down with some liberation theology. I reject the prosperity stuff. I just want to do good, be good and show up at the gates and be proud of the life I’ve lived. We can believe in lots of things, and I do. Christianity isn’t an exclusive path for me; it is what I identify as, but I would say my theology is more complex. My current church has been fertile ground for me, though. It’s been a good fit and Hope has taken to it better than I could’ve dreamed. I love that she loves going, that if we miss a couple of weeks she’s asking to go. I love that she wanted to go to the women’s only service that we have once a month. I love that we talk about faith and that I can see the wheels in her head turning about faith and salvation. It’s good stuff.
What’s not good stuff? Listening to the announcements about baby dedication next week this morning (and jokes about whether dinosaurs dedicated their babies—I wanted to scream “or adoptive parents of older kids?” In fact it made me cry, right there, in the middle of service. I couldn’t go to altar call today; I normally go to pray for me and Hope, but after nearly a year of going faithfully nearly every service since I started this process, I couldn’t make myself go up to pray for us. I felt so invisible, so unwelcome to do it publicly.
I am convinced that there is still a greater message in this for me. I’m wrestling with trying to learn it. There is a divine reason for enduring the rejection in a space that my kid is thriving and where I am now miserable. I have no idea what that reason is or how long it will take me to uncover it, but I believe there is a reason.
Hope’s faith gives me hope. So we met friends for lunch after church today and when we get in the car we channel surfed to find some appropriate post-church music. Well after a few rumpshaker channels, I ended up plugging in my phone and bumping my favorite mix of gospel. Hope loves this mix and she sings along. Today she mentioned that when she changed foster homes the last couple of years she sang one song in particular: Fred Hammond’s We’re Blessed. Oh, getchu some here!
For reals, how can you NOT have some hope after that? #anointed
Now I have to admit that this is one of my favorite faith hype songs. But really, how profound is it for a foster kid to sing this when whenever she moves to a new home? Even if she wasn’t really sure why she was singing what she was singing…wow, what a testimony about how the Holy Homeboy steps in? She continues to stun me with depth.
Of course some of the depth is countered by the swirly teendom, but still.
I love my little conundrum of a kid.
We are blessed indeed. At the end of the day, the church thing doesn’t matter.
Late in the midnight hour, the Holy Homeboy is going to turn it around.
Maybe I’m doing ok in this parenting thing. I posted an article on my ABM FB page today (have you liked it?) about regrets parents have. Oh gosh, I have so many regrets over stupid things I do on the daily. But I think I might be doing ok. I was listening to Hope describe me and some of my behaviors to a friend today. I cracked up because she has me so pegged. Now sometimes it might seem like I’m riding a broom around this house, but I love my kid with a fierceness I didn’t know was possible. I try to make her happy and safe. I give her lots of structure and she’s thriving. Whatever dumb ish she does, she does because she’s 13 and 13 year olds do incredibly dumb ish.
I think I might survive this, and I think she might too.
Keeping track of this stuff helps me to just not get so bogged down all the time. The reflection is helpful; there’s so much I want for us and for Hope, specifically. I’m sure I could be doing better, but I think we’re going to be ok.