My mind has been PACKED with memories, challenges, what-if stuff (hate that) and more lately.
The death of Natasha Richardson felt hard to me. Why? I do not know her. I am not the type of person to be a "fan" or subscribe to People magazine. I am, by nature, a Realist.
Plus, I really have my hands FULL with my Real Life! LOL!
So, why did her death hit us so hard? There are so many people who are saddened by her death. Maybe it is because it was so sudden? She was too young. She was beautiful and full of life. She had a loving marriage and two young sons. We feel our own mortality.
For me -- I miss my dad. Whenever anyone dies ... I miss my dad.
If you look at photos of me when my dad was alive and photos now, you can see the stress and age on my face and body. Even in my heart and soul. It has been hard. A hard transition. It has taken a toll far greater than the just-under three years would normally produce.
Plus, the financial stresses of the last 18 months.
Plus, an older child adoption.
Plus, the challenges of raising May. (May reads this, and so let me state LOUDLY that I adore May. She is my heart. There is NO better kid for me. There is NO better mom for May. We truly do belong together.)
We are coming up on the 10 year anniversary of Columbine, too. So, my thoughts turn to that sad day and all the families who would LOVE LOVE to have a "challenging child" still alive.
We are starting a two week Spring Break, and while that sounds lovely to childless people and families who have Spending Plans for trips and vacations ... it is more challenging for our current Life. :-) But, I love a challenge!
May is a kid whose feet slip and slide under her without routine. She has always had sensory issues, raging episodes, and other issues. And, any change in routine seems to amplify this noise for her. I know this. I anticipate this. A two week Spring Break is a HARD change in routine.
Still ... her raging yesterday and all the verbal assault was nearly "too much." BUT, it was NOT too much. Why? Because I am aware. I am here for the long run! So is she. :-) We will find paths through alllllllll of this ... together.
I know that many (!!) adoptive families read my blog. For some, it may feel as if your bonding was firm and immediate. For others, there have been harder days ... weeks ... years. For a few, there have even been disruptions of matches. And, rematches where things have been much easier.
For ALLLLLLL of us, please let me recommend a book. "The Connected Child," by Karyn B. Purvis, Ph.D., David R. Cross, PH.D., and Wendy Lyons Sunshine is one to make time for. (Even though I do not believe in making time! LOL! We each have 24 hours, just like everyone else! It is up to us what we choose to do with those 24 hours.)
This book should be given by Social Workers to each family who adopts a child. It is a MUST READ. Hear me. Yes, even you families who had those "our eyes locked and love set in" adoptions. LOL!
I have had so many wonderful resources since adding our three daughters to our family. Much of what this book contains had already been presented to me from various sources and in a multitude of ways. Like my 24 hours, it was up to me to choose to listen. To tune in. To become aware. To see beyond "what appears to be."
So, when May argues, controls, RAGES, lashes out, etc. I can know (KNOW) that it is not directed at me personally. There are bigger underlying issues. And, I am firmly committed to walking that path with her. It is SO worth it.
If you are (or will be) an adoptive parent, it is up to YOU to get this book and to place your heart in a place of listening. That horrible teenager you have ... you will see him/her in a whole new light. Truly.
If nothing else, this book will give you the insight to "not take it personally." And, that is GOLDEN when dealing with attachment issues. It often seems as if the child knows JUST how to push your buttons. You have to be really aware and engaged to know that that is not even what is really happening! Phew! Hard work!!
If this message speaks to you in any way, please get this book.
After May had the two terrible rages yesterday, I was laying (lying?) beside her on the floor and holding her hand as she calmed down. After the war, there is always this sweet SWEET time where we gather back into each other. I had the TV on and the channel was tuned to an XM music station. Sarah McLachlan's song that says "I will remember you. Will you remember me?" came on and my eyes filled with tears. My heart flooded with memories of Columbine. My mind turned toward May's friend in Chinese school who will never know her big brother, who was killed in Columbine, and to that son and daughter's Daddy who is one of my Life Heroes. I respect and admire him so much!
May asked why I was crying, and I choked out my teaching of Columbine, school safety, gun control and gun safety, parenting even when the shoes are empty, etc. and all those parents who would LOVE to have a child to walk through a RAGE that very day. May and I talked and talked, as we calmed down from our own hard day. She has always been a kid who truly understands things beyond her years. After a while, she said, "Mama, President Obama should make a new law that says that NO GUNS should be allowed in the United States."
It is at this point in time in all discussions of Big Things where I feel my own sense of conflict at "inflicting my own beliefs" upon my children. I want to guide them. I want to make them think. I want to present more than ONE WAY to believe, think, keep faith, act, and perform. I want them to form their own beliefs and ideas!
So, I told May that while it sounds great to have "no guns" there would always be a way for people with bad intentions to get guns and use them. Plus, people who enjoy guns in less harmful ways (not criminals) are very powerful and there are MANY of them who would never allow a "no guns" law to pass. So, the best thing we can do is respect guns and teach people how and when to use them. I told her (again, for the billionth time) that when she is old enough, her Daddy and I will teach her how to shoot guns and care for them. But, while she is a child, if she sees a gun, or her friends show her one, she must LEAVE. Run away and tell Mom or Dad. PERIOD. No alternative. No discussion.
I hate that people make guns into toys for children. Guns are not toys. We don't even have water guns. My girls know that guns are real and nothing to PLAY with.
But, I also know the attraction that forbidden things can cause. So, I promise them that they WILL get to shoot guns when they are older.
I have had a lot of fun killing saplings, paper plates, targets and empty cans with guns. A .357 can do a lot of damage to a young aspen. LOL!
My children (and yours) will NEVER come upon a gun in my house. I hope you can say the same for your own children and for mine when they play at your house.
I will never EVER take away your right to own guns, but I will INSIST upon your treating your guns with respect and the world's children with care and respect.
ANYWAY ... after the rage, the love is strong. And, sometimes God sends you a message -- or a song -- that helps to drive that realization home when you need a little reminder.
I love May. Nothing she says or does will ever change that one tiny bit.