Day 3 of our French Canadian experience had me a bit moody, which isn’t the best, but I rallied. I know Hope hates it when my moods shift so quickly; she still hasn’t gotten used to it. The truth is neither have I. I’ve always been this way. What do they call it, mercurial? Yeah, that’s me. I did have some time to really observe us and others yesterday so and of course learn.
We still have so much to learn about each other. Hope and I have been living in the same house now for 14 months and we’re coming up on our first finalization anniversary. And, honestly, we know each other, but we don’t know each other. I swear it’s worse than dating!
Last night over dinner, in an effort to cheer my dreary mood, Hope suggested that we play 20 questions.
By question 3 I was cracking up at things she wanted to know: who was my crush when I was her age; what did I think my dream home would look like when I was in high school; who was my Woman Crush Wednesday back in college, before there was ever a WCW?
What brands of clothing and shoes were my favorite? If I could be taller than 5’3” how tall would I be?
I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up if the music thing didn’t work out; what other instrument would she play besides her tenor sax; what was the hardest thing and easiest thing about moving cross country (the weather, but we have better amusement parks). I asked her when she thought I should let her go on her first date and what was her first impression of me. I giggled when she asked if I was white because there aren’t a lot of black women with my name; she was relieved when she was told I was Black because she didn’t want it to be obvious that she was adopted.
The “obviousness” of adoption is a running thread with us. We were recently asked to have our images included on our agency’s redesigned website; it took us a month to decide to say yes with limitations. We are open about our adoption on our terms; we like blending in.
When all 40 questions were asked, we agreed to do it again today. It was fun.
Having choice and making decisions is really hard for Hope. Oy, Hope wants all the options and I’d love for her to have them, but they lock her up like a prison. Even choosing what flavors to have in a sorbet at the ice cream shop can turn into a major life decision because there are more than 4 options. I had fallen out of the habit of establishing guidelines before when entered a store, but realized yesterday that in this respect Hope is very much like a 5 year old. Don’t touch things that look breakable. You can have 2 flavors not 4. We will be in this shop for 10 minutes. Having the boundaries helps her. She told me recently that she liked the boundaries a lot; she’s shocked that some other kids don’t have the same kinds of boundaries.
I guess being a strict ogre is working out for me and her.
My lessons in social justice have taken root. Hope already had a strong sense of justice when I met her, but who got it and why weren’t quite what I had in mind. She seemed to really believe that being Black was limiting in ways that it isn’t. She had no problem tossing around homophobic slurs. The justice scales weren’t exactly balanced.
We’ve been watching coverage of the foolery in Indiana this week, in which Governor Pence signed legislation that essentially legalized discrimination based on a personal religious belief. A bunch of foolery with wider implications than being able to say no I don’t want to make a cake for your gay wedding.
After I explained what was going down in Indiana and how it might affect my friends who live there, Hope pondered. She chewed on that thing for hours, occasionally asking a question or two to clarify. Over dinner she declared the law stupid.
Yep, that was my conclusion too, kid.
But she went further and asked about other states, and what about our state, and what about her friends who were bisexual or lesbian or gay? What about them? She made the leap that some folks might not serve non-Christians and what were those people supposed to do? She made the leap to color and what if someone said brown and black folk weren’t of God and didn’t want to serve us?
And the wheels on the bus go round and round.
Hope wants, no needs, to memorialize everything. I’m hoping to have a chat about being happy again today with Hope. We talked about happiness recently, and I was intrigued but sad to hear my daughter talk about happiness as not sustainable because she conceptualizes happiness as episodic and not a state of mind.
The practical way this plays out is in her picture taking. Seriously we need to plan double time for when we go somewhere because she must take pictures of EVERYTHING. It’s crazy how many pictures she snaps, hundreds in a day. Even crazier, she wants me to print them ALL out so she can put them in a photo album. I’ve tried to suggest uploads to apps like Google+ Photos, but nope, she wants to print them out. Bless her, Hope is old school to her very soul; her and this picture taking and albuming is like somebody’s grandma!
I’ve come to see her snaps as a desperate way to cling to memories, to look back at the happy episode. She still doesn’t trust this life; she says she probably will never come here again. I don’t know if that’s true, but she still doesn’t believe that it doesn’t have to be true. I hope to get her to that positive thinking place about her life one day.
She takes so many pictures that I hardly take any now.
So we head back stateside tonight. Today is lunch at the Noobox, a visit to the history museum so I can see the Greek history exhibit and a tiny bit of shopping. Despite the exchange rate, I find Canada to be a bit pricey!
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