Day two of Montreal brought us to the absurdly confusing underground/upper ground mall situation. We spent hours there and just went I thought it was time to shuffle somewhere else we tripped into a whole other section of the area. All this wandering about gave me time to think of new lessons.
I hate the word, “Oooooooh.” No, really I hate hearing Hope go “ooooh” when she sees something because she invariably follows it with “I need this…” Really, you need a $29 Hello Kitty wallet that will be on the floor with the mirror crushed inside of a month? “Oooooooh” grates on my nerves like I cannot explain; it is a red herring for me.
I like shopping, and I like to take care of my things. Hope is in a phase of life in which taking care of things from this life; as opposed to her pre-adoptive life–just doesn’t happen. Stuff ends up on floor, broken all the time.
In recent months I’ve started working on helping her take a minute to think about the difference between need and want. I also found it necessary to downsize her food orders because she tends to order everything and eat nothing, which triggers an emotional response from her about wastefulness.
I heard “oooooooh” a lot yesterday and I am now really aware that everytime I hear it, I cringe a little bit inside.
Size matters. Hope is very tall, statuesque, even. In the face she still looks pretty young, but in this busy world, who really pays attention? It is shocking to me how adults are rude to each other because we can be. I am guilty of this sometimes; at times I’m in a hurry or just want what I want and I might get snappy.
Observing Hope yesterday interact with clerks in shops let me know that she is subjected to a bunch of adult pettiness on the regular because it takes folks a minute to really look at her and realize she’s just a kid. Oy!
Hope is practicing her French while on this trip (amazing how it’s coming along!). A lot of practicing is just in building the confidence to ask questions; Hope has so little confidence. In one shop she started to ask a question and she stumbled a little bit. The clerk sniffed, rolled her eyes and grunted, “I speak English.” Hope grimaced and physically stepped back.
I stepped forward and tersely stated that my daughter was attempting to practice, might she show just a wee bit of patience with her?
I saw the light bulb go on.
The conversation proceeded in French, haltingly, but in the end I congratulated Hope on trying again and nodded my thanks to the formerly shady clerk.
I realized that Hope probably gets some form of these size based assumptions on the regular and that makes me kind of sad.
Vacation sleep is a beautiful thing, when you can get it. Last night we got take out and I let Hope watch something dumb while I caught up on magazines from last month. I eventually just fell asleep. I need want 6 pillows and nice bedding back home. I slept so wonderfully.
Of course the fact that my fitbit says I walked nearly 18K steps yesterday probably has something to do with my sound sleep. Fitbit says I had 100% sleep efficiency last night; apparently I only rolled over once.
I still have so much to learn about teen communication. Yesterday over croissants, cocoa and a latte, Hope opened up about being lonely at school. I’ve fretted quite a bit about her social skills the last year. She does act a bit young for her age, has some issues with anger and just struggles with friendships.
So, I listened to her open up about being lonely on the boyfriend front.
Having these conversations is kind of like having the best cup of coffee and then putting your hand directly on the red eye of the stove with no Ove-Glove. They don’t end well.
I love it when she opens up to me. Love it. But it’s tricky and I feel vulnerable. One wrong move can trigger sighing and protestations of “YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND AT ALL.”
Yesterday I initially started with trying to parse out whether she was lonely because she wanted a boyfriend or was she lonely because she felt left out because “everyone else” (which really could be only one person) has one and she didn’t. This brought me a few minutes of an explanation that leaned more to the latter then to the former.
I asked what does a 13 year old’s relationship look like? I had to ask because from my vantage point so far, it appeared to be a lot of texting with emoticons, followed by crying and gnashing of teeth. I was happy to hear that boys still walk their SO’s to class and sometimes carry their books was a visual indicator of being coupled up.
Hope asked me about Elihu, which as a pretty big deal that must’ve shook me a bit since I wasn’t expecting it and while she knows he exists and has seen him, I don’t really talk about him. Then I realized me and E were included in her tally of “EVERYONE has someone EXCEPT ME.”
Yeah, Hope is sitting in this cafe looking at me, thinking, “Even my mamma got somebody.”
I steered things back and shared that my love life at 13 was similar to hers, and in fact most girls would say that it was similar. Things aren’t always what they seemed.
Whelp, that was the end of that. “No mom, they are. You don’t know, you don’t know anything, just never mind.”
With my now 3rd degree burned hand, I went back to my coffee and croissant, and we didn’t speak for nearly an hour.
Sharing is caring. I stay in touch with Hope’s extended first family. I send them letters and pictures with some regularity. I do tend to keep them locked out of social media stuff; not that I pust much stuff about Hope on my personal page, but like any parent I do. Given how things all went down for us on Facebook, I still am leery about sharing too much there. I’ve posted a photogrid each day we’ve been here, and it is heartwarming to open it up so they can see our adventures. One aunt left the sweetest message yesterday.
It felt good to lift the veil.
Hope is still not ready to have her own contact but is so appreciative of my efforts to keep that door open and to keep her family somewhere in our world. I’m hopeful that one day we’ll get there and that there will be some positive, healthy relationship amongst us all. But for now, it’s amazing how lifting a privacy setting on FB can mean so much to people.
Today is museums and a promised horse and carriage ride, maybe a nice dinner too.