Wanting More

I had a shocking realization today. I have been aware of this for a very long time, but I guess it’s less realization and more ready to accept the reality.

Hope doesn’t desire more for her life.

She doesn’t really seem to dream about the future.

She doesn’t really dream of what she wants to be when she grows up.

She doesn’t really dream of a life beyond maybe a few weeks from now.

She wants to be in honors classes, but more because they are brag worthy, not because she believe she’s smart or that they are a gateway to college.

The only more she seems to want is new sneakers and maybe access to more social media.

She wants here and now.

She doesn’t see tomorrow. She can’t seem to think about tomorrow. She is not motivated by tomorrow.

She doesn’t want more for herself or her life.

I struggle with this. I am ambitious.  I am an overachiever. I am constantly thinking about my next move, my next project, where I want to be in a year, 5 years, 10 years, what do I want retirement to look like.

If I mention these things, Hope glazes over like she can’t even understand what I’m talking about.

Today, I was able to really admit to myself, that she doesn’t want more.  I don’t think she knows how to want more.

It feels like another loss I’ve uncovered. I’m angry that Hopes visions for a future or that her desire to live big and boldly seem to have been stunted or even crushed.

I hope it hasn’t. I don’t know if I can teach her to want more or even knowing what wanting more means.

Hope grasped how demanding high school will be this last week.  She is already engaging in some self-sabotaging behaviors and suggesting that honors classes are too much work.  They aren’t too hard; they are just a lot of work and she just doesn’t have as much time to binge watch the Disney Channel or lay in the floor babbling or whatever else she wants/needs to do. It’s a lot for her, not academically, but just emotionally I think.

But to take her out of these classes would be emotionally tough too. It is a badge of pride that she tells EVERYONE about.  “I’m in honors!” “I’m in honors!”

She wants to pride badge, but not the work. To her credit, what teenager wants to do much work? Well, some do, I guess; but mine does not.

Unlike debating adults, I can’t just rattle off a bunch of data and stats and articles about how the importance of education is, or how teachers, like everyone else, struggles with unconscious bias and it may affect her evaluations, or how her bad attitude will get her labeled or how pushing her in school means she might have a greater likelihood of going to college and getting a job that can turn into a career.

She ain’t trying to hear none of that…because she doesn’t even know if she wants that.

She doesn’t want more; I’m afraid that she doesn’t know how to want more.

I’m afraid that I can’t want more or possibly enough for her.  It’s like I can try my best to love her enough for the both of us, but I find my dreams for her constantly changing. I had all these multilayered goals, short term, intermediate goals, long-term goals. All the dreams are getting scrunched into short term goals. It’s becoming soul crushing to have long term goals, because we’re just trying to survive now.

But I can’t let the long term goals completely go. I know that I have to teach her to want for tomorrow, next week, next month and next year.  Occasionally she’ll talk about the future, but it is so very rare.

I suppose that the more positive way of looking at this is to see her living in the present, and that’s supposed to be a good thing, right?

But living in the present is supposed to be enjoyable, and it is not rooted in an inability to think about the future.

I don’t know what it will be able to make her want more. Time I suppose. I’m hopeful that she’ll continue to progress and to want things. I want so much for her, but more than anything I want her to want more out of life for herself.

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About AdoptiveBlackMom

I'm a single Black professional woman living in the DC area. I adopted tween a few years ago, and this blog chronicles our journey. Feel free to contact me at adoptiveblackmom@gmail.com, on Facebook at Adoptive Black Mom, and on Twitter @adoptiveblkmom. ©www.AdoptiveBlackMom.com, 2013-2017. All rights reserved. (Don't copy my ish without credit!) View all posts by AdoptiveBlackMom

6 responses to “Wanting More

  • My Perfect Breakdown

    I wonder if her future dreams will grow the longer you two are together? Maybe it’s sometime that takes time? I’m sitting here trying to think about what age I moved into realizing hard work in school was a necessity for my future. I just always got top grades and was told i was going to university. I’m not sure if I really got how hard work mattered until university when I realized my first degree wasn’t enough and needed to get my master degree which required top grades.
    Also, I do disinctly remember trying to get out of the equivelent of honours math in grade 12, my dad refused to let me. We fought like cats and dogs over it. And you know what, if he gave into me, I wouldn’t be where I am today. It turns out I needed that math course to get into my university program and I simply didn’t make the link when I was 16/17, but my dad did. So, maybe it’s a normal state for her age? I know my experience isn’t exactly a scientific study, but it’s food for thought I guess

    • AdoptiveBlackMom

      I hope those dreams will emerge as time goes on. I don’t think that she’s thinking about it like her peers though, so that’s why I believe this is a trauma thing. I mean, at least she’s come around and said she guesses she will go to college now; that’s a dramatic change from 2 years ago. Her peers are talking about homework and grades and what they want to be one day; Hope is like, “Um, can we get ice cream tomorrow? I don’t/can’t process this other stuff about college.”

      We’ll see what the future holds. 🙂

  • TheChroniclesofaNonBellyMama

    This resonates so much with us and Mary. We noticed this a while back, about her not really understand what “the future” really means. When we spoke to her therapist about it, she said lots of times when kids experience trauma like Mary (and probably Hope) did, they don’t actually have the ABILITY to see that far ahead because their main focus is the here and now. How do i get out of this situation? When am I going to eat again? When do I get to sleep in one place again?! They are so used to thinking about the what if’s that it becomes a self defense mechanism NOT to. The future really isn’t important because they will continue to ask the same questions over and over again, expecting a different answer and never receiving one. It’s also almost always about instant gratification. It’s so weird, psychology! BUT, now that she is in a stable home, with good examples, same bed every night, knowing that dinner is coming no matter what or how anyone behaves, same people in her life, things become more stable, and the future presents itself in a while different way. It takes time for them to build this new habit of being ready for tomorrow, or to actually process that tomorrow, next week, next month, next year will ACTUALLY be different! In time, friend, things will totally change. Hope and Mary will see and actually PROCESS that it’s totally cool and worth it, to look forward to the future…they will…

    • AdoptiveBlackMom

      Yeah, I really didn’t get it until this weekend. I mean, I was conscious of this refusal to consider the future, but not really able to process why. I do get it now. I am amazed by how long it takes for the mind to heal; you hear so much how resilient kids are, and Hope (and Mary) are resilient, for sure. But in moments like these you see just how deep the hurt and trauma was–It really crushes the ability to look forward and hope further along than tomorrow. It’s deep and sad. I’m hoping that I can help her on this path to wanting more for herself. It’s so hard though to set my own crap down and really meet her where she is.

      • TheChroniclesofaNonBellyMama

        Every time we come to some discovery about Mary and why she does the things she does (or the things she doesn’t do) it breaks my damn heart every time. Like, seriously! Who could do things like that to little kids, mostly for very selfish reasons! Our poor girls…

  • TAO

    ABM – You know I didn’t go through what Hope has – but perhaps this will help. I wanted to be doctor until I found out I couldn’t dissect a dead frog in science class, and medical school would involve more, so much more than that. After that, I didn’t want more than just to be happy, pay my bills, just live and no, there was no future concerns in that mindset. Nothing sparked my interest for a long time. Looking back – I had no idea what being a lawyer meant, how intriguing the law really was, an engineer – had no real clue what that meant, any of the careers – I wasn’t exposed to them, and, I think it would have helped. Not sure how much emphasis there is on that in school, nor whether Hope has been exposed to the different professions. I wanted to be a doctor because I knew in-depth what that was by following dad around, listening to him talk about it. Long way of getting to the point – but perhaps Hope will be sparked if she actually learns what types of careers are out there, understands what they do, something my spark a “that’s it”…

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