So, this past weekend I hit the wall. Hard. A dirty food container sent me careening off the cliff of parental crazy.
Totally lost my ish. Parenting swagger went right out the window. It was terrible. And I kinda felt bad about it; note that I only said “kinda.” I did not totally feel bad about it.
I have been incredibly patient with a bunch of crazy ish that Hope and I have endured lately. I kinda knew there was risk of me totally going off. It was epic, kinda like the New Year’s meltdown during which I damaged my vocal cords so badly I could hardly talk for a week.
At one point Hope threw her reliable taunt, her trump card: “I wish I never moved here,” Girl, whatever. I replied “I love you but some days I wish that too.” #boom #didIsaythatoutloud #notmyinsidevoice
Yeah, that’s how we got down on Saturday. Ugh. I did yell this time, not as much though. #improvement And I took 2 hours to cool off before going to talk to her calmly about the issues. Then I left the house for another two hours to go do some shopping and run errands.
This was not how I planned to spend my weekend. I’m pretty sure it is not how Hope intended to spend her weekend either. I prepped dinner and well, what’s the rule? Don’t go to bed angry? #thatscute
Yeah, eff that. Saturday I realized I gave all I had to give; there was nothing left in the tank but reptilian brain functionality. In other words I was only capable of being pissed. Instead of yelling I just went into Elsa mode.
Minimal speaking and the provision of basic necessities. I signed progress reports, prepared meals, visited a new church (including acting like Hope actually belonged to me, which was a serious effort in grace and charity, since I *literally* wanted to drop her off at the local Goodwill).
Sunday was still frigid.
Monday, I was still frosty, and Hope was running so late that she didn’t have time for breakfast so she picked up the lunch I prepped for her and we said nothing more than good bye, have a good day. I cooked burgers for dinner and hid my nose in the latest US Weekly while poor Hope tried several times to initiate conversation.
“Would you like to see my new band T-shirt?” Nope. “Sure.” Looks at shirt, nods.
“Ms. D says I’m distracted in math because I and sitting next to [her crush du jour].” “So change seats if you know this is a problem.”
“(Very dramatically) I’m sooooooo tired. I mean, I’m exhausted. I think my head feels hot.” “You should go to bed early; SOL testing starts tomorrow.”
And she did. In bed at 8pm. Not sure if she cried, but I know she was sad and the slightly recovering parts of my scattered mind thought to console her and warm my heart. But my reptilian brain convinced me I was fine and she was fine. I made sure her alarm was set, and I fetched myself a glass of pinot and the remote to watch Love and Hip Hop: ATL.
I ain’t checking for Hope.
And as other brain functions return, I know I should feel some kind of way about that, but don’t bother guilting me about icing my daughter out. As I sit here 4 days later, I still am having a difficult time turning on the functional systems necessary to be warmer. I simply do not have the capacity for more than minimal interaction or base level care-taking.
I am empty.
I remind myself a lot of Hope when she first moved in and was so overwhelmed. I simply cannot tolerate more. The thought of attempting a meaningful conversation has me reaching for the Ativan to stave off a panic attack.
I begged the sitter service for a sitter for this weekend. They found me one. So I’m booking me a hotel, and I’m flying the coop for two nights. I did not even invite Elihu because I don’t want to consider another human being’s needs for these two nights.
So, while I’m down for the count, I get a call from a new parent with my agency. She’s a little more than 3 weeks in. She’s still at the stage where you’re counting the days, minutes, seconds. She’s still at the stage (for us singles at least) where you take your calls in the furthest bathroom in the house, in the shower, kind of whispering because you are convinced that your new child has super power hearing and the punishment of finding out that you are talking about her is too great to even consider.
She’s sleep deprived, teary and just deep, deep in the throes of a new child figuring out how to function in her new surroundings with the rudimentary skills she has.
We talked for an hour, about all kinds of stuff. I pulled out my best parenting swagger guidance. I pep rallied. I encouraged her to adopt my devious/creative parenting philosophies. #getgullywithit
I admitted that nearly 18 months after placement I wasn’t white knuckling it this week. I had actually dropped off the face of the cliff.
Admitting it was liberating for me, even if it is an uneasy admission that all’s not well in the kingdom. Time heals; it really does. But this ish is really hard. Teen issues are hard. Adoption issues are hard. These jokers together, overlapped and conflating is sheer madness.
But, I’m not hiding in my shower anymore. #PraisetheHolyHomeboy #wonthedoit And I know that there is life over the edge. I’ll be ok. Hope will be ok. We’ve actually survived way worse. Hell, we’ve survived nearly 18 months. Sometimes the Holy Homeboy sends you someone who mirrors your previous struggle just to remind you of how far you’ve progressed in that struggle.
This hiccup will pass. Of course it will pass with me in a hotel with luxurious bedding and room service while binge watching Vikings this weekend. I love Hope but I still need to get away from her for a few days. I think I’ll also treat myself to some new jammies, luxe of course!
May 19th, 2015 at 4:43 pm
Friend, I’m with you on this 100%. Sometimes, Mary really gets under my skin, and I try my best to just let it rock. But then I get tight, like “baby onesie wearing” tight, and I just. can’t. with. her! And she does the same thing hope does…”Sammie. Sammie. Sammie. Sammie” “what Mary?!?” “I love you guys!” And i swear that there is an audible grunt, but I bet she hasn’t noticed… “Love you too Coocoo ::sigh::”. I have to say, I love your honestly, becasue the truth is, we have been given this beautoful and wonderful gift, but sometimes, I’m wodnering where the gift reciept is. It’s temporary, but the thought is there, and I love how you get real about the foster/adoptive/new mommy struggle. It gets better, I know it, and hopefully this weekend for you will be the replenishment that your soul needs to go on for another 18 months!
May 19th, 2015 at 9:55 pm
It gets better and most of the time is better. We’ve been going through a lot and I haven’t been taking care of myself like I should. Not nearly enough respite and heavy issues that I don’t want to share publicly which have just crushed me over and over. I’m hopeful that now that I have a plan I can get my mind to shift again. I want to rest, but I also want to miss her. Thanks as always.
May 19th, 2015 at 4:46 pm
I hope your weekend away helps you re-center yourself and gives Hope the time to re-center herself as well. I am confident that you will both survive this rough patch.
May 19th, 2015 at 9:08 pm
It’s great that you recognized your need to get away; Hope probably needs that too. God bless all the Mamas of teenage girls! I have no good advice, my daughter barely survived her threes so… Enjoy your amazing weekend, you deserve it!
May 19th, 2015 at 9:57 pm
I’m already fantasizing about order a belgian waffle from room service. My respite fantasies are so really, real.
You’re right, though, Hope probably needs the break too. I’m usually gone once a month for travel and I’ve been home for a good long stretch here. Oy!
May 19th, 2015 at 10:14 pm
That sounds amazing! Order one for me lol:)
May 19th, 2015 at 9:40 pm
It happens I get crispy too. Good job taking care of yourself and enjoy your break.
May 20th, 2015 at 10:17 am
This totally reminds me of an argument I had with my mom once.
MOM: Sometimes I wish I didn’t have you.
OSTRICH: [Laughing in her face] I know for a fact that isn’t true.
MOM: You’re right, but you frustrate the hell out of me sometimes.
A lot of people cringe when they hear that story because they think my mom was some terrible demon. She wasn’t. She was an excellent, caring mother who was also a human being. Raising a smart-mouthed teenager.
Your actions during one fight don’t make you a good or bad parent. In fact, I think these moments show our kids (and ourselves) what unconditional love really means. No one is perfect, and yet we’re all still worthy of love. Yes, even parents.
April 30th, 2018 at 5:02 pm
Thank you so much for your honesty. We’re off the cliff at the moment and it’s nice to be reminded that we’re not the only ones who hang out here sometimes, and to have some hope that we won’t be here forever.