Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Monday, February 10, 2014

4 years in, if only...

Every single year it gets me {right here.} But not in the delightful and flowery, mushy, oozing syrupful way I so often wish it did. Not in the way that would make it all sound so fairytale-like and idyllic, brimming with intense healing and effervescing love and overflowing warm affection, immense gratitude filling the hearts of both sides - a true and happy ending no one could deny.

No, it doesn't get me like that.

Mostly, it frustrates me, causing me to question the insufficiency of my own, too regularly half baked efforts offered in weariness. It suffocates me, the obvious and labor intensive work yet to be done. It overwhelms me, the surmounting obstacles we face. It surprises me, I thought we would be further along by (1 year...2 years...3 years...4 years....) into this.

The Anniversary of The Day Our Adoption Journey Began is swiftly approaching. It's not a time we've ever celebrated. "Gotcha day" has been mixed with such bittersweet angst for me always. I generally just let it pass by, unbeknownst to anyone in the family besides me who mostly just mourns the sorrowful loss of such a great deal.

I allow my mind to wander, wallowing in The Fruitless Land of Pity.

If only I had met them younger, before so much damage had been done. If only I had been able to make them feel comfortable with me. If only they understood their safety here is reliable. If only they felt they could be honest with me. If only the lying and meticulous covering and fronting could cease. If only they absorbed the tenderness I have to offer. If only that tenderness were enough. If only I were more tender. If only physical affection effortlessly poured instead of being a task on a long to-do list. If only our skin didn't sometimes crawl as we awkwardly hug each other. If only they didn't have RAD. If only deceit wasn't part of our nearly every day. If only it seemed a natural fit, them for me, me for them. If only I were a gentler, more kind and patient person. If only they had a mother who found them the most precious, miraculous gift and could treasure them as a child should be and infuse confidence deep into the very core of their being, helping them to feel adequate and capable and strong and uniquely wonderful. If only it were ever easy and it didn't seem as if every single thing were hard. If only they didn't live the daily experience of perceiving themselves outsiders. If only I had gotten the past four years more right than wrong.

If only.

And then I remember the road we've traveled. I recall the tiresome journey, the major and minor triumphs, the heart swelling victories, the shattering defeats. I think about the nights I've spent in tears, the complaints I've heaped upon my husband's shoulders after they are all tucked into their beds. I remember the badge of failure I've claimed as my own, head throbbing, stomach churning and the way I arise each morning to try, try, try again, always. I think about how far we've come since the beginning, the mistakes we've made, the togetherness we've wrought in burdensome labor. I remember how much they adore their siblings, how they cling to the predictability of our family life, how they enjoy eating good food and getting new-to-them clothes and going skating and holiday celebrations and birthday cakes and learning to ride a ripstick. I think of the way they sometimes say, "watch this mom" and how they make pictures for me and how they forgive me my tremendous folly. I remember the effort they expend in mimicking their attached brothers and sisters, sometimes clumsily trying to follow the things children are supposed to do. I consider the education they are receiving and the opportunities we will work to ensure and that all we've got to offer in this world will be at their fingertips.

And I know this: After all they've lost, they do have parents. Deeply devoted, remarkably flawed, less consistent than we should be but working at it all the time, human beings raising other people's children as their own, parents.

They are free to fully embrace the ups and downs of life in a committed family, to take what they need to grow and to carve a future of their own making with our flawed but faithful presence.

I am free to fully embrace the ups and downs of the journey of adoption, to take what I need to grow and carve out a future of my own making with their flawed but faithful presence.

We will continue to make our way - together - accepting what is and learning love as we go.

I smile to myself as I leave The Land of Pity and marvel at the enormously messy greatness of it all.

Surely this qualifies as a real life fairy tale in the making...


Courtney said...

surely it does, friend!!

Anonymous said...

beautiful family praying for you all

God is good

Blog Archive