Recently I was coaching another new parent through a rough moment with her new kiddo. I told her it was normal to feel some resentment about how much her life has changed and how hard her new life was trying to parent a kid with a traumatic history. It’s normal to reminisce about how good and easy life was before, and to feel angry and guilty for going down this raggedy path. It’s normal. Other parents told me, and I know it to be true.
She asked me if I had forgiven myself for doing this to myself, for making my life hard and sometimes miserable.
I told her that I had come to realize that forgiveness isn’t an event; it’s a process. I told this new parent that I have to work hard to forgive myself every single day, and even sometimes a few times a day. I found myself sharing that concept with my fellow blogger, MyPerfectBreakdown, less than 24 hours later.
Sometimes I also have to work hard to forgive Hope for just being Hope.
And some days I fail at forgiving either of us at all.
I failed this week.
For the last few months I’ve been planning to slip back into my pre-Hope life by planning a vacation for us on Martha’s Vineyard. I splurged on a rental for a week. I smiled when I thought about how much I loved the quaint little shops, how I would fix myself a fun cocktail and sun myself on the porch or at the beach or at a pier. I was so excited.
And. Then. We. Got. Here.
And. It. Has. Been. Miserable.
It’s an old house, with lots of character and full of history. It’s been in the same African American family for close to a hundred years.
But none of that matters because Hope only sees an old house that has creaks and crevices with bugs. She has complained nonstop. She has dragged her feet and did nothing yesterday that would advance her movement with any swiftness. It actually took her 7 hours to get ready to go anywhere yesterday…I mean I know we are on vacation but her shoes weren’t even tied when she *finally* emerged. I had had 7 hours on a slow boil. And there’s the bug thing. I know she can’t help being afraid of bugs. I know. But dammit if the fallout post bug sighting doesn’t piss me off. I mean, it’s really dramatic and while I know there is a genuine physiological component, I think she amplifies things for even more attention. It is really, really extra.
And day one of my fantasy vacation ended with me flinging myself across my bed and sobbing loudly for 20 minutes, all the while wishing I had left her with somebody…anybody back home.
Yesterday I didn’t forgive myself for this life change. It’s hard and I’m struggling with her. I love Hope maddeningly but I don’t like this life very much right now.
The truth is that I’ve been kinda miserable for months; there have been punctuations of happy in there, but really, life sucks more than it doesn’t.
And Hope knows it. That makes me sad that she knows how miserable I feel. She often will comment that she messes everything up when I get upset. She doesn’t, but she seems *so* unaware and/or incapable of doing anything different so we always end up back to the same struggle.
I’m so tired. I’ve spent a fortune for this week and on top of everything else I feel fat. I just want to relax and enjoy some quality time without the drama.
But I bought the drama with me, and I kinda regret it.
So tomorrow, I will try again, to forgive myself for making my life so hard, for still having expectations that can’t or won’t be met, for being angry with Hope for all sorts of things that she can and can’t control, for not fixing myself that much needed rum and coke today, and for the guilt that I pile on top of all the other tough emotions that I feel thanks to this adoption journey.
I’ll try again today and tomorrow, and the day after that because I know that I have to chase forgiveness down and essentially make it my beeotch, every day.
I hope today is better.