Category Archives: college student

I’m Trying

Last weekend Hope turned the magical age of 21. We were supposed to go to NYC to celebrate, but sadly, she got really sick, and we had to cancel. I hope we can go later this summer.

The good news: she didn’t have COVID.

The bad news: we don’t exactly know what she has. I suspect it was a case of the flu.

I can say that it was super gross. And when Hope gets sick, she really gets sick and she really gets dramatic.

I wish I could say that I turn into this mushy mom figure when she is sick, but I do not. Don’t get me wrong, I do what I can—try to get her to eat, to shower, to rest, manage symptoms, etc. But that sit at the bedside, Flo Nightingale stuff…no.

I’ll even admit that I struggle with leaning into the mushy mom troupe. I’m not that chick. I go into non-emotional mode because it’s a problem to be managed and/or fixed.

My ability to compartmentalize emotion is a handy skill in my line of work where a DEI professional being hyper emotional is just not going to work.

That skill for momming is problematic because Hope thinks I don’t care.

Additionally, Hope’s penchant for dramatizing her ailments has me usually thinking she’s crying wolf. There were times when we were regulars at the Patient First (after several expensive trips to the ER where NOTHING WAS WRONG! Some of Hope’s emotional challenges manifest psychosomatically, which really complicates things).

I absolutely do care, and I’ve improved in doing mushy stuff over the years. Sadly I think I’ve lost some of that ground though.  

I think I’ve backslid recently because the last 2.5 years have been exhausting in dealing with some of Hope’s shenanigans. Without telling all of our business there was a whole host of bad 19-20-something decisions that resulted in some unfortunate entanglements, health issues, law enforcement engagement, and more.

It’s a wonder I have anyblack hair left on my head. I don’t have much, and I figure in the next year to 18 months I will be completely grey at this rate.

During the height of our COVID drama I had to put my emotions on the shelf to just get through it. I just put those mushy feelings away and went about navigating us out of the dark forest.

Now, I’m realizing some of those emotions are kind of stuck on the shelf.

I’m exhausted.

My sisters and I left home at 18 and never returned to live at home—this being 20+ living at home is foreign to me. Sister K also has a 20-something living at home, and frankly, she’s as baffled as I am, just with a lot more emotion.

I find myself frustrated that Hope is chronologically 21 and emotionally 14, 15 at most. Bridging all that goes between those numbers is…a lot. It’s like she wants to go clubbing and she wants me to fix her baby food all at the same time. It’s dizzying, and I worry often that I just can’t do it. I do not have any effing idea how to parent through this. It’s like an uncontrollable roller coaster.

I know that I have unrealistic expectations; I’ve been spending the last few weeks of therapy really trying to get my brain on the same page as my parenting realities. When Hope actually was 14 and 15, I felt like I could really manage things better. At 21 she has access to sooooooo much more than I think she’s ready for, and the stakes seem so much higher and riskier. More than anything I want to protect her.

I also want to protect me.

I really feel somewhat powerless, and I don’t like the feeling. It’s not that I want to control her every move. On the contrary, I want her to be autonomous, to be free, but the trouble that she can get into feels so much more dangerous and life altering at this point. I hate rules, but I had to institute some this year because of poor decision making. Poor decisions at 14 and at 21…both are unpleasant, and both can have long consequences. But the reality is that I made it through the age 14, emotionally 7 period of poor decisions. Living through age 21, but emotionally 14 poor decisions feel a lot different.

To be truthful, Hope is a “good” kid, but she has triggers that just make her spiral and reliably do dumb shit.

And I’m older now. I don’t feel quite so resilient. I’m tired and a bit worn down. Worrying feels different. It’s exhausting.

My therapist gave me some homework and good friends have suggested I need some respite. Both are right. I’m working hard and will be trying to make some plans to get away.

I know Hope is also struggling and it is painful to know that I am not currently able to meet her where she is.

I’m trying, but it’s really hard. I am trying and I’ll keep trying tho.


Hola!

Hope and I are vacationing in Mexico. This is the first vacation of this kind that I’ve shared with my daughter, and let me say, it takes some getting used to.

I am learning so much about my daughter on this trip. First, she is as goofy and clumsy as ever. She is a young woman; she may not be grown=grown, but she is blossoming. Some aspects are great to see, others are awkward and still, others are “I could go to my grave and have lived well not knowing that piece of information.”

I’ve always tried to create a strong line of communication between me and Hope. It isn’t always comfortable, but it works. It allows me to gently point out miscues, work harder to meet her in the middle and feel a bit better about some of her decisions, many of which are different from mine at her age. There was a time when I would have really disparaged those decisions, but as I continue to unpack my own baggage, I try to lay down the judgment and stay present when she needs me.

Not easy, but it’s a constant goal.

I usually take this kind of trip alone or with friends; it has been a bit strange doing this with her. Not bad, but strange, like I’ve crossed some boundary. I get to set the boundaries, I decided I wanted her to have this experience of a beach/pool vacation full of rest and relaxation. We’ve checked that box; maybe we will do it again sometimes. I don’t know.

Today has been the first day that Hope got snippy with me. I knew she was moody, and why so I just apologized and moved on. As the day unfolded, we talked about the moods, the feelings (sorry, no love match at the resort) and how we just gotta move on. Meanwhile, one of the workers at this place has decided that we’re a couple, Hope is his stepdaughter, and that he’s coming back with us to the US this weekend. Amusing. It’s unrequited love, but it’s a nice ego snack.

In any case we’ve got a couple more nights here together, and I’m eager to see what happens next.

Ruins at Tulum
Our panoramic view

New Hope, Who Dis?

Yes, I know after being absent around these parts it’s rare to post twice in a week. Don’t get used to it! That said, this weekend Hope and I head to Cancun for some much-needed R&R, and I actually tend to post a bit when we are on vacation..soooo, who knows!

Anyhoo, I had to drop a quick post about Hope. I don’t know what version of Hope this is…maybe 3.0? 5? Whatever, the point is that Hope is changing right before my very eyes.

As much as I might grumble a bit about the challenges of parenting a young adult who is living at home doing the sometimes dumb things that young adults do, I am getting a close-up view of Hope really growing up and into the person she wants to be. That’s pretty cool.

I’m sure you’re like, Um, ok, what’s up with Hope?

So, this semester she is taking 2 courses at the local community college. I was clear that I expected her to not goof off and apply herself. Even though I didn’t really expect all As, I told her (and I actually do believe this) that she is capable of A quality work. Hope has struggled with school since we became a family. Everything seemed hard for her. The content. The deadlines. The teachers. The environment. When she withdrew from college a year and a half ago, she was already on academic probation. So, while I wanted to set an expectation, I’m going to be transparent and say I really wasn’t sure how this would pan out.

I ask her how classes are every week or so. A few weeks ago, I asked how she was doing with due dates. She noted that she hadn’t missed one yet.

Y’all my daughter has ADHD, and it’s been a devil to manage. Last year, her docs took her off of all meds; I worried but they said trust the process. Um, ok. So, she’s doing her assignments and turning them in on time. I was stunned.

Then I booked our vacation. I honestly only took my schedule into consideration when identifying dates to travel. I stay busy with work and next week was mostly free with no external engagements. Hope was excited when I told her where we were going; she frowned a bit when I told her when. Turns out that next week is midterms.

Ooops!

She’s been anxious about it for a few weeks, but the reality that we were finally getting back to some semblance of normal in resuming our vacation schedule (spring and late summer) kept her excited.

So today, I stop by her room to chat and check in about today’s work schedule. She announced that she had a B in math and that she was getting a jump on midterm things that are due next week so that she can maximize her time away.

Wait what? You have a B in math? You hate math! A B!!!

You’re planning ahead? You’re getting a jump on things? You’re maximizing?

Seriously, if you have a kid with ADHD or is otherwise neurodivergent, you KNOW that this is beyond a breakthrough, this is like an effing miracle! I can’t even really articulate how stunning this is.

I am so proud of her. I’m so proud of how she’s figuring out her way. I’m trying to push back all my new expectations. I don’t want to crowd her and I don’t want to upset the apple cart. But wow, what for some folks seem like tiny steps are just seismic shifts for us. I’m actually stunned.

I always have known that Hope is smart. I didn’t know how long it would take for things to catch up and work themselves out, but it seems like we are entering a phase where some of that is happening. I’m over the moon happy for her. I see her confidence is much higher. I see her figuring things out and not asking me to do it for her. It’s all happening right here, right now.

And as much as I hate having gone through a pandemic, new traumas and so many downs, this up, this high makes it worth it. I believe in Hope and can’t wait to see how she finishes out the semester and how she continues to move forward.

It’s the same Hope, but different, a bit more mature, settled and rooted. I’m so happy for and proud of her!

I see you Hope!


The Balancing Act

Yes, my balancing act of parenting a young adult continues. I try to remind myself that Hope is absolutely normal. That the boundaries she’s pushing are normal. She’s defining herself, stretching, growing. I see the development happening, and some days I marvel at how she’s blossoming.

And then other times, I’m just hella annoyed.

I’ve written before that I have few rules: No drinking from my liquor cabinet and no cannabis flower in my house. Beyond that, respect me and respect my house. This is our home, but in terms of property—this is my house.

Paying the mortgage grants additional privileges.

If you unpack my rules, you’ll see that they don’t say *don’t* engage in drinking or cannabis. I would strongly prefer Hope not to do these things, but I also am not foolish enough to pretend that she doesn’t.

I am a natural contrarian. I loathe rules. This doesn’t mean that I don’t have my own rules/codes that I live by, but to have an external set of rules not set by me governing my behavior has always been a tough pill for me to swallow. I just don’t like rules or a lot of oversight.

I’m fortunate enough to have had parents that allowed me a lot of rope and to have a boss that has given me free rein over my programs. I value that trust a lot and I don’t abuse it, but I do stretch!

Hope is in a stretch period of life, and I get that. Again, it’s kind of fascinating to have a front-row seat. But when I have to make a rule because I see it’s necessary it really pains me and pisses me off!

Last week Hope got in at 5 am after a night out. I was not a happy camper. As she was telling me *why* this happened I was like, um, this is an excuse and not a legitimate explanation. So now, she has a curfew.

This means now I also have a curfew. I am annoyed. We were doing just fine, and now we have a curfew.

This week’s dilemma was she was clearly oversleeping and would not get to work on time. Do I wake her up to help get her going or do I mind my business?

I woke her up. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. This time I did.

She’s still going to be late, but she’ll be there.

It’s always a choice to be made though on whether to step in. I want to help her be successful, and sometimes that means letting her fail for now.

I’m honestly struggling with this. I’m not sure what I expected with this phase of parenting.

That’s not true—I thought Hope would be away at college doing whatever without my watchful eye like I was away for school and not with my parents. I didn’t anticipate a scenario in which she would be home during this period.

The pandemic really changed all that, and to be honest, even though Hope has a goal of eventually transferring to a college to finish up her degree, the world feels so different now that I have no idea if that will really happen. I know I will support that effort, and my worries have less to do with Hope’s ability to work hard and make it happen and more to do with the fact that the world is a growing shit show.

I don’t know, the attitudes of the teen years in retrospect seem more predictable. That’s probably the rose-colored glasses talking, but this season of parenting seems really unpredictable. Will she or won’t she make it home before midnight? Will she or won’t she get off the dating apps because I’m afraid that she’ll run into a serial killer? Will she or won’t she drink my high-end moonshine?

It seems silly, doesn’t it? To some extent, I suppose it is.

But it’s real. Thanks for reading my never-ending processing.


Establishing Healthy Habits

I have been “thick” all of my life. There are pictures of me around 3 years old with cute chubby thighs. When I got to high school, I played sports–soccer and tennis. I didn’t get thin; I got strong. My mom would say my legs were like tree trunks when I was playing soccer.

I was so proud of my legs then. They were strong, powerful and mostly lean. My thighs and calves were solid.

Losing or maintaining weight has been a part of my lifestyle forever; for me it also resulted in me developing an eating disorder my second year of undergrad. That spun into its own struggle for more than a decade.

I’ve worked out my entire adult life. I can’t say I love working out, but I do love moving my body. My mood is better, it’s easier to maintain my weight and as I get older, moving ensures that I *keep* moving. At a minimum, I get a walk everyday either outside, by YT video or on the treadmill.

When Hope came into my life, I made it a point to invite her to workout or at least move with me.

My daughter loathes exercise. She does not want to move. Hope can legit stay in bed for 24 hours if relieving herself and food weren’t issues. There have been times when she will go for a walk with me, but with the bug phobia, the conditions have to be just right or she becomes an epic pain in the arse because she’s running around and will even run into traffic to avoid a gnat.

Her year at boarding school and semester at college gave her some freedom to order food and to develop new habits. Military school enforced workouts; but college did not. Then the pandemic hit and well…yeah.

Last year, Hope gained quite a bit of weight. Enough such that the medical team has been a bit concerned. She’s got a family history of some not so great thing (we are fortunate to have some of that info about her family history), so they strongly encouraged her to adjust her eating habits and get some exercise. She’s largely ignored that guidance. In fact, she’s doubled down on the eating and has gained more weight.

What I love about Hope, especially during this time, is how much she loves her body. She delights in the size of her bottom and her boobs. She has repeatedly stated she only wants to lose weight in her belly, a notion I often remind her is not really how weight loss works. I don’t want to do anything that jeopardizes her love of her body–Lord knows I don’t want to make her feel towards her body the way I used to feel towards mine.

Recently we were chatting about food and exercise. I noted that a few changes and a little exercise might be a healthy addition to her life. Maybe a 15 minute cardio video and ditching the daily Dr. Pepper could be a start, or you know one of those. I rarely drink soda, but I drink a lot of seltzer, sometimes adding a little bit of juice to get a soda fix.

She scrunched her nose.

Ok, how about weening…switch to diet Dr. Pepper?

Maybe.

As for the videos or a little time on the treadmill?

I hate cardio.

I mean, I don’t always love it, but my body and mood are better for it.

<Side eye>

Ok. I drop it. It’s hard for me to figure out where the line is between nurturing and harassing. I don’t bring it up often; and I am cautious never to be negative. I just want to encourage some healthier habits. I want her to always love her body, but a part of love is taking care of it.

So, 2022 will involve me inviting her to walk with me, do some workouts with me and finding new recipes to try. It’s all fun and games in your 20s when your body can absorb a lot of foolish choices; but then one day you’re 35 and you’re body is like…”Yeah, this metabolism? We’re going to slow that rate to half.”

Oh, just me?

How are you imparting healthy habits to your kiddos?


A Party Ain’t A Party

This stage of parenting is seriously turning out to be the biggest mystery for me. Seriously, so much of what Hope is going through, I went through far away from my parents’ view. I was away at college. Now, I’m guessing, that many more folks experience this early adult parenting than I anticipated with more than 50% of college students living at home.

So, apparently, this is kinda the norm?

Ha, it doesn’t feel normal. Even though I’m a first-generation college student, both of my parents moved out shortly after their high school graduations. My dad went into the military and my mom moved to the city. Like everyone, they made their way and figured it out. Again, they were away from their parents’ view as well.

Me, I’ve got a front-row seat to Hope’s shenanigans. And I find that parenting through them is a big discombobulating because these were not conversations that I or my siblings had with our parents, and they didn’t have them with their parents. I’m like, WTF am I supposed to do or say?

Hope had a party earlier this week.

Yep, in the middle of a pandemic surge, she invited about 15 folks over to a party in the condo party room. It was supposed to occur about a week or two ago, but it got snowed out so she rescheduled to this week. I was not a fan of a gathering, but she contracted to use the party room all on her own—which I was really happy about ‘cause those folks were not coming to my house.

She was very excited, and I was excited for her. Social relationships have always been anxiety-inducing for Hope. She finds it hard to make new friends and sustain healthy friendships. Her current job seems to have a nice collection of young people close in age, both younger and older. I’ve met a number of them and many seemed a lot like her in the anxiety-awkward department so she found her tribe.

Well, long story short, only about 5 people showed up for the party. The day after it was clear that she didn’t consider the party a success, that she was really upset that folks who RSVP’d didn’t show, that she felt like she wasted money, and on and on. I asked her if she enjoyed the company of her guests to which she replied yes! Did they bring food? Yep. Did you have leftovers? Already handled. Did they help clean up? Yep, they even helped me pop the balloons! Wait, you had a party with balloons too? Um, ok.

By my estimate, you found your core, solid pals, but Hope and I do different math. She didn’t go to work the next day. She said she was embarrassed, and my heart broke a little.

After I really tried to listen to her and watched her openly wrestle with her emotions, I got to parenting. Hey, don’t give the people who didn’t show up so much attention when these other five folks came out to hang with you. It was 12 degrees that night; you know how I get when it’s that cold—other people get like that too. We just want to curl up in the covers; we will totally be no-shows. It’s not personal; we still love you, and we are still going to bail on that invitation. It’s a whole arse pandemic out here; it’s not a bad thing that fewer people showed up. Risk reduction! I’m sure that if these folks are your friends and they care about you, they’ll apologize for missing your party.

Welcome to the rest of your life and invitations to stuff that you accept only on the day of to explore every possible legitimate, and some illegitimate, excuse not to go to the event.

Afterward, I pondered when and how I learned that. I thought back to parties I had in my twenties, and I just don’t remember. Sure, I have a little pit feeling wondering if people will show, but somewhere I learned that sometimes they just aren’t going to make it and it’s not the end of the world. Somehow I learned that it didn’t mean they didn’t like me or worse. It just wasn’t the big deal I made it out to be.

I don’t know if I helped Hope through her feelings just like I have no idea how I got to the realization that it wasn’t a big deal, in the grand scheme of things. I find I keep bumping into coaching Hope through these kinds of things and I have to really think about how I learned something and when. I mean, this stuff was 30 years ago; it’s hard to remember. Or I remembered how I originally learned it and then learned something new later but not being able to figure out how to explain it. Then explaining more nuanced things…it’s just harder than I anticipated.

I don’t think I’m messing up, but I wonder how other kids who live at home learn this stuff. Are y’all having these kinds of conversations? Is learning through coaching better, worse or no different than learning through lived experience? Does any of this even matter?

I just didn’t expect to coach through some of these experiences, and it feels even more strange than usual.


Ten Things on Thursday: 9/16/2021

  1. Hope’s arm is healing nicely. Our family physician prescribed a cream with silver that is speeding the healing. Best part? No more pain.
  2. My daughter hasn’t worked for two weeks and that’s about as long as she can go without starting to get impulsive! So, she got her first tattoo this week. She’s been talking about it for a year. I encouraged her to wait, but I have several so I’m ok with body art. I came home from a post work walk and she announced she had an appointment for the next morning. She’s happy.
  3. I’m low key sad I didn’t get to take her. But you know, good for her on the adult flex.
  4. It’s her astrological sign, a crab. The art she chose isn’t really to my taste, but it wasn’t for me. She showed me beforehand and I had a neutral response. She knew that meant I didn’t like it, but again she stayed true to her own style. That’s my girl.
  5. The car is finally being repaired after Hope’s fender bender. Over $1K in damage. Another adult flex: Hope has already paid for my deductible – the natural consequence of the accident.
  6. I think I have already talked about Hope’s hair recently, but my gawd does she have a glorious head of hair! Today she had it up in the ponytail puffs, and it was adorable. There are many things I effed up in raising Hope, but love of her melanin and her coils and kinks…I got that part right. I’m hopping she lets me blow it out and straighten it soon. I just want to play in her head!
  7. It’s been a really awful week. And then today I realized I’ve had all the symptoms of a hormone flux. The last bad one was in January. Then I was in a rage all the time. This time serious depression. Gosh I wish there was a way to predict these fluctuations. This is awful
  8. There are 11 days until I hop a plane out of the country. I can’t wait to just stop for a few days.
  9. We are starting to have more tangible talks about returning to college next semester. We are going to plan and hope for the best. This Delta variant ain’t no joke! I know a few breakthru cases, and what’s really worrying me is my sister who’s a teacher being forced back into a classroom, her little kids, my parents, hell me! I’ve got 2 autoimmune diseases to worry about. Anyway, it’s feeling increasingly hard to plan for January.
  10. Today I know I turned the corner emotionally. I’m feeling a little better, a little more clear eyed. A little less fragile. It’s been a rough few weeks!

Until next time!


Another Parenting Transition

This month marks 2 years since Hope started college. It’s almost 1 year since she took a leave of absence from school. I’ve told her she has one more semester and then I would like for her to start taking classes again to ease back into the swing of things.

So much of parenting is adapting; this is only more intense for adoptive families. You’re adapting to different ages and stages, different needs and desires, and different behaviors. I knew going into this family thing that I would need to change a lot in order to make it work. I figured at some point, as Hope neared adulthood, that we would find some level of stasis, stability, a time that didn’t require so much adaptability from either of us.

I got a glimpse of that when Hope went to boarding school and then on to college. Of course then the pandemic hit and both Hope and I had the rugs pulled from under us. My transition was a bit smoother, but things were very difficult for my daughter this last year. Pulling her from the darkness was really hard, taxing, emotionally draining at times, but we did it. She’s stable and doing so much better.

In fact she’s doing so much better that she’s acting like a young, college aged person: testing limits, trying on decisions, behaviors, trying to figure out adulting.

Y’all, it’s driving me nuts. Historically, there were things I was strict about and things I let go. When Hope went away to college, there were a few things I asked her to hold back on, but I also acknowledged that I wasn’t going to be there looking over her shoulder and that I hope she would make good decisions. For the most part she did, and she did other age appropriate dumb ish. Ish I shouldn’t know about, but that Hope provided regular updates on. A few weeks in, I told my daughter that college was like Vegas–some of her extracurriculars should just stay there and I probably shouldn’t know about them.

She still told me. I suppose that’s a testament to how close we are or how much trust she has in me. All I know is that it drove me nuts. When she moved back home in March 2020, I told her that home was not Vegas. That lasted for about 3 months and then things went south. Since then it’s been a constant struggle of basic rule enforcement (and we don’t even have that many rules), common courtesies (I ain’t asking to use my own damn car) and nagging about chore management. UGH.

I tried to think back and get some sense of how did my parents handle this phase of life while I was in college. Yeah, I was away the whole 4 years except for like 2 summers. The most memorable incident involved me wearing an embarrassingly short pair of shorts (I was so happy that this thighs fit in them!) and my dad saying he didn’t think they were appropriate. I replied, ok, I will no longer wear them at your house or around you. And then I went back to school. It was a declaration of independence and autonomy. I never heard any more about it or really heard my parents exert any real control after that.

Developmentally, Hope is not quite where I was at the same age, so I feel like I still need to hover a bit, but it’s always a mystery about how much to hover and how much to enforce. There are a few non-negotiables and I’ve had to exert some real consequences on occasion for those breeches. Day to day parenting is a little rough for me right now. I’m constantly asking how much rope do I give, should I intervene because even Stevie Wonder could see what was on the horizon. Often times, I desperately try to redirect my energies, but the reality is that I still need her to follow the house rules and mind a few Ps and Qs.

I swear I feel like I’m constantly failing. I know I’m not, but it often feels like I am. I feel parenting stress today as Hope is 20 as when she was 14. I didn’t really anticipate that. I know that the pandemic threw us all a major curve ball. I’m grateful to have had this time to grow together; I’m grateful when she hit such a low point that she was here with me and I could immediately spring into action. I’m grateful both of us have survived.

All that said, I’m hopeful that this awful group project that we’re stuck in, aka The Pandemic, ends soon. I want her to resume her collegiate life and do some of this adulting practice at school where she’s not subjected to my watchful eyes. I want her to have some of that freedom. I know that I could simply drop more of the rules here, but I know I’m not going to do that–I’ve got some basic things that just have to or cannot happen here. #nonnegotiables

It’s just challenging in ways I didn’t imagine, in part because my own parents didn’t have the window into the college years that I do with Hope. If she gets to go back to school, I promise to listen to her tell me wayyyy too much information about her shenanigans; I just want her to be physically in a space where she has an opportunity to flex if she wants to. I know it’s going to be ok, but it just feels really challenging right now.


The Summer of 2020

We all know that 2020 has been a complete shit show. As we enter the final quarter of this crazy year, I’m frankly wary. This summer has especially been hard for me and Hope.

As a parent you do what you can to help your kids learn to make good decisions. It hurts when you watch them not make the best decisions, and you just hope no one gets hurt and wait close by to help pick up the pieces.

That’s what the last couple of weeks have been, working to maintain our home as the safe space to recover and heal. I thought the crisis was over weeks ago, but it got one last breath of life and as it finally expired, it left a hot mess in its wake. It’s been hard for Hope and for me. It’s so hard watching your kiddo suffer natural consequences.

Hope will be ok with time; I believe that. But I’m guessing like everyone, 2020 has changed her. In some ways I see her having gained some wisdom, which never comes easy. She is strong, and while putting your bad decisions under a microscope is always hard, I see her replaying things in her head, turning them over in her mind, questioning her reactions to all sorts of scenarios. Of course we all do this. Sometimes it’s healthy, sometimes it’s not.

During this time, I have done double duty. I’m mom first, but my daughter also needed a good girlfriend to talk to sometimes. It’s a hard flex to go between these identities, but she needed a friend sometimes. I shared my more of my own bad decisions, and the proof that life goes on. I talked about what I needed to do for me to move on to better choices. I told her she would find her way and what worked for her. I enlisted friends and her godmom to help prop her up. Hell, at one point I actually offered my daughter an edible because I saw she needed help settling down and trying to get to sleep. She declined–Mom ABM was shocked and happy she declined.

And then I mommed. I mommed so hard. I cooked, a lot, nearly daily. I made appointments. I juggled work and parenting in ways that felt like our early days. We watched our binge show on Netflix. We talked. We cried. I got her up and pushed her to get showered and dressed daily. I talked to our medical/mental health squad, sometimes late into the night. These last few weeks have been intense, and soooo reminiscent of our early days.

It made me remember just how challenging it was learning about how to help Hope and how much I needed to learn about trauma. It made me go through my own process of revisiting some of my decisions 6 years ago, wondering if there were things I could’ve and should’ve done differently. I had a breakdown, wondering if the summer of 2020 was my fault. I begged our family therapist to tell me what I did wrong to increase Hope’s risk of being harmed.

End the end, I realized that in spite of our decisions, Hope and I are still standing. We definitely have some dings, dents, and rust spots, but we’re ok.

Hope is taking some time off from school, and after the election, we might pack up Yappy and relocate outside of the US for a few months. We could both use a change of scenery. When Hope was originally planning to be in residence at school this fall before they went remote, I looked into packing up Yappy and going away for a while. Now I’m looking at moving all of us for a few a spell. I’ve joked that depending on the election results, I might just ask for asylum.

This year has a been crazy and this summer…well, it was rough. But we’re ok.


The Sun is Shining

My last post was a lot. As Hope would say, a lot a lot. I learned that my description of my family crisis was really upsetting to some adoptees. I want to acknowledge that sometimes I write  things that may be triggering for some readers. I will write more about that sometime soon, but I want to acknowledge that reality. 

Today is a new day, and the crisis is over. There are just waves of relief. My daughter is safe.

These last few weeks have really been scary. There are always times when I worry about Hope; I worry about her in some form or fashion all the time. This was different. The stakes felt higher, the threat to our relationship seemed higher, and I was just scared, really, really scared for her. 

I know I feel lucky. Parenting is hard; it just is, and some days are just harder than others. And some days, for some parents turn into weeks, months and years. 

The thing I’m most grateful for is being so close to Hope.These last few weeks have been an emotional ringer for both of us. We kept talking. We spent quality time together. We ate together. We used good communication strategies. For most of the time we were really patient with each other, and when we were able to articulate why. I feel like we are even closer now. 

There are and will continue to be some reverberations from this episode. There’s some monitoring and support that needs to happen to make sure things stay safe. There will probably still be some tears (from both of us). There will be lifelong lessons to reflect on (for both of us). 

But this morning, I’m just happy that the sun is shining and that Hope is ok. 


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