Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

You can call me Trisha, if you want to....

Yesterday I was chatting online with a young lady and I accidentally spelled her name wrong. Though I realized it soon after, she didn't correct me at the time. Gosh, that always gets me right here (hand on heart) and softens my rapidly aging ticker. It has to be one of my most very favorite attributes in a person and something that I find highly noble, yet sometimes difficult to achieve. When people kindly overlook a fault, when they graciously let an error slide, when they aren't quick to verbally flog another person for a genuine mistake, a thoughtless remark, or even an intentionally rude insult, they basically become my hero. It's in that light that I've decided that I give everyone permission to call me Trisha, if they so choose, and I will opt to not correct them. Because Lord knows it happens often enough...:)
A few weeks ago Meadow and I found ourselves alone together, purely by luck of the schedule, at which time we did a little grocery shopping and ran an errand. At the store she walked a generous two feet behind me and said not two words to me the entire time. I know. Sad. So, so sad. Pitiful, pathetic, terrible, awful, no good sad. Have I mentioned how much I {clearly} rock as an adoptive parent? Truly. I'm amazing. I just put that child right at ease, beckoning her to cleave directly to me. That's why my girl loves me so.

Later that afternoon she and I talked about it and she (of course) cried regular big wet tears, telling me how she doesn't feel as much like part of the family as the other kids. {Sting} We talked about how eager any of her siblings would be to have my one on one attention so they could ramble my ear off and how she doesn't care to talk to me much at all. As we live our days together I can't seem to avoid hurting her feelings and she can't seem to avoid hurting mine.

It's not a surprise. As I think back to my young years and the considerable amount of time I spent at other people's houses as my parents were divorced and my mother worked at night - no matter how great, loving, close, cheerful, fun, wonderful their family was, they weren't my own. It's difficult to quantify the sacredness of the ties that bind you to your own people, your own place, your own smells and atmosphere and food and community and home that is filled with voices and mannerisms that closely resemble your own.

It's really true what they say. Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.

Fast forward to a couple weeks later, she and I were alone again. This time to get her hair braided. Before we were off the dirt road leading to the highway near our house she was telling me (((all))) about her favorite t.v. show, Johnny Test. Poor girl. She was working so hard. This was an earnest, calculated, pre planned, I'm-not-going-to-fail-at-this-again attempt to bond. I give the girl such enormous credit for her valiant effort toward Operation Connect with Mother or at Least Appear Like You Are.

Though it was a slightly awkward and fumbling attempt at conversation, I gave her huge praise for working so hard and did my best to stay very light hearted and keep the flow going. How I wish it were easier for her.

Someone suggested to me she may have RAD. After spending some time reading about it, I probably agree. (Though keep in mind, according to my own internet self diagnosis I also harbor a raging case of lymphoma likely to claim my very life at any given moment....and you've seen my spot on professional assessments of my children's drawings. Ahem.)

Moment by moment, as our years together wear on, whether they are RAD riddled or not, I can see that she and I are perpetually engaged in a magnificent dance. We twist and turn and stress and strain, trying, trying, trying to learn the steps. We sweat and groan and wipe our foreheads and ache with fatigue. We step on each other's toes, we bruise one another's shins, we let each other down. We grow weary and become tempted to throw in the towel.

At other times we get it down for a bit. Then we glide and twirl and spin in unison, relaxing, savoring the sweet fruit of our labor. But we do nothing without effort.

We will continue to work at it all and to talk and to cry and to wound and to adapt expectations and to learn to love. We will forever be about the business of fostering acceptance.

We are such a pair, she and I.


Courtney Cassada said...

"But we do nothing without effort."

YES. and i'm TIRED....

Lindy said...

Sweet girl. Right after Kent and I got married, someone gave us a book called, "We're finally alone, Now what do we do?" I thought it was so silly at the time. How could we NOT know what to talk about? Relationships are easy! Ha! We have used that book more than once, struggling to connect when I was bogged down with three kids under the age of four and flailing in my attempts to remember who I was before I was a mom. It is full of questions that are quite direct. Some light and comfortable. Others, much deeper and probing. I wonder if they make a similar book for kids? If not, your creative self could probably put together a list of topics that you could broach (brooch?) lightly with her when you're alone. Funny enough, though my daughter NEVER stops talking--she never says "anything." Her answers to direct questions are vague and non-committal. I could probably use a similar list for her. Let me know when you've got it all printed up and bound for my use. :)

Holly said...

praying for you and her today......for blessing and 'dancing'.

maggie k said...

Hi - I have been reading your blog for a while but never commented before. If you ever saw the original Dr Doolittle movie - you may remember a creature called a PushmePullyou. That is what my two little adopted girls seem like to me sometimes - they want me now! but then they don't want me just as fiercely and they can toggle between those two extremes in a matter of seconds. So yes a dance of some sort between us but it can be pretty hard to know at any point in time - I am leading or following - going forward or backward?

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