Hope and I have had an interesting journey. The first year was tough–getting used to one another, trying to create a sense of normalcy, trying to get the healing started. I remember when my depression kicked in and when I started learning about secondary trauma. Hope was in yet another school–she’d already been to so many, and had difficulty making friends.
We connected with some birth family, dealt with a lingering criminal investigation back in Hope’s hometown, estrangement from my mother and oh yeah, finishing a dissertation. I think of that year often nowadays; there’s something about 2020 that reminds me of our “bonding’ time the first few weeks.
I made a cake every week.
I have baked cakes most weeks since March. It’s one of my ultimate comfort foods. As Hope doesn’t really get into cake like I do, I also do not have to share my cake. Yes, that admittedly gives me some petty pleasure. And yes, I just had my nightly piece of chocolate frosted cake.
I have struggled with depression most of my adult life. It’s managed by meds and therapy. Even though my very high intrinsic motivation is one of several triggers for my depression and anxiety, it’s also likely the thing that keeps me from tumbling over into the abyss.
My drive and inability to sit still for very long has meant that I won’t just lay in bed watching the ceiling fan for hours. There have been times when I have wanted nothing more than to do that because the sadness, emptiness and darkness had taken over. The anxiety keeps me up and functioning. It’s frankly an awful vicious cycle.
Proof? I took today off to rest, to just be. Instead I worked on finishing up setting up my new desk, checking and responding to a few emails and drafting a couple of things that need to go out tomorrow.
I did lay on the couch for a couple of hours with Yappy while playing on a coloring app, so there’s that.
Today it really, really sunk in that Hope’s depression and anxiety don’t look anything like mine. They aren’t even in the same neighborhood. They manifest so differently that it has taken me 6 years to realize this. I feel really foolish that I’ve failed to see it as clearly before. I’m also embarrassed and ashamed that there are times when I said things without realizing Hope’s emotional limitations in the moment. I am certain that there are times when my dimwittedness really harmed her and our relationship. That will weigh on my heart until I die.
I’m grateful for whatever grace she has extended me because I certainly don’t deserve it.
Tomorrow brings another parenting pivot. I never stop learning and try to incorporate the new knowledge and make changes. This pivot requires some significant changes. I expect to stumble…a lot, but Hope needs some things from me and those who love her that I really didn’t understand.
October 27th, 2020 at 9:15 pm
We all deserve grace. Both of you. Thanks for your journey which you share so generously.
On Tue, Oct 27, 2020 at 8:47 PM AdoptiveBlackMom wrote:
> AdoptiveBlackMom posted: ” Hope and I have had an interesting journey. The > first year was tough–getting used to one another, trying to create a sense > of normalcy, trying to get the healing started. I remember when my > depression kicked in and when I started learning about secondar” >
October 27th, 2020 at 11:55 pm
I think all parenting involves mistakes, most people have traumas in their lives, some bigger and harder than others. Parental understanding of traumas is almost as slow and difficult as a semi-adult child or fully adult child’s understanding of the traumas their parents face. Not judging, sharing grace and showing the demonstration of grace to ourselves so our children see models all helps the next generation. Keep trying and learning and caring. Loving is imperfect but being there and caring helps.
Parenting is very hard … even in the 6th decade and I suspect beyond.Fall down 6 times, get up 7 …. it continues and repeats. Be as kind to you as you want Hope to be to her.
October 31st, 2020 at 4:14 pm
Wishing you all a happy HALLOWEEN. Holding your hands in nervousness with this coming week. THANK you for being who you are and all the support you have shared over the years.