Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Sunday, February 08, 2015

That time I stopped talking to my daughter and she began talking to me...

Listen, I'm not faulting her. She is far from alone. We, all of us in this house, we have issues, people. Issues, I tell you! We are an issue-y bunch of issuers who go around issuing each other all over the every which where. My gnarliest issues crop up all the days that I wake from my only escape, a blissful, issue-less slumber. 

It's just the way it is and it's just the way it always will be. 

We humans, we have issues. Do I hear an amen? Holy, hallelujah. It is the anointed truth.

Kind of liberating to acknowledge and embrace, right? 

Still, to become the healthiest set of People With Issues we can, we work on our stuff from time to time. Not every day, but on our Biggest Person Days because every day is simply too much to ask. There is a lot to be said for the well timed art of wallowing in misery for an appropriate stretch. It gets us ready for the battles that lie ahead in warring against our unrelenting selfishness and haughty pride and lofty egos and shallow vanity and self righteous judgement, which takes a LOT of WORK. Then, when we are braced for combat, work at it we do. So we grow up a bit and learn from our mistakes and try to splatter a little less and allow grace to abound a little more.    

Miss Meadow's primary challenge is with truthfulness. It's a big one for her, always has been. Understandably so when a child comes from where this one has. 

It ebbs and flows, usually flaring up most during times where she is feeling most insecure and self conscious and unworthy. She, like all of us, behaves best when she feels best. 

She was in a real slump for a while and it was one that began to involve her siblings more, most notably her closest sibling, Jayla.

Now, not only did I appoint myself the task of working with Meadow on grasping the importance of telling the truth, but also of smoothing the road for she and Jayla. 

It was wearying me. Big to the time. Because like many of you, dear mamas, I often carry the load for my children. 

So I did what any good, self respecting, therapeutic parenting mother would do. I stopped asking Meadow questions to which she could respond with a lie, because she always, always, always did and it wore me out trying to figure out how she could continue to look into my eyes and do such a thing, even after all I've done for her. (Enter my friend, Self Pity.) 

Basically, I let her be altogether and kept essential dealings with her as breezy as possible.  

Just. Like. That. I. Stopped. Exasperating. Myself. 

I stopped providing her ample opportunity to lie to my face and break my heart and cause me to worry over the future...where I was certain she was destined to wind up incarcerated for fabricating one too many half truths to the authorities that throw adopted children whose mothers didn't get adequately through to them in the clink and threw away the key. Like, forever. And it would be all my fault. The shame I would surely bear. 

Even the things I typically would feel like I needed an answer to, I went without. If I knew she had done something she tried to hide, which is customary for her, I simply told her (in the lightest tone I could muster) I knew what happened and moved on. 

Funniest thing, the child who usually lives her days on the very verge of fight, flight or freeze, began to lighten up. She became less scared of getting caught and interrogated.

Lo and behold, she started talking to me. Without my prompting it. Because she could relax. Because the drill sergeant had left the premises. A few nights ago when I was saying goodnight, she even told me she loved me. First. For the first time. Ever. My heart, it melts. 

It has been wholly lightening for all three of us - Meadow, Jayla and myself.

It's been three weeks. And just today, she informed me she is ready for me to ask her questions again. 

She said wants to practice telling the truth.

And the whole choir sang, amen.  


Melissa said...

This is beautiful. And amazing. I got chills sitting here while I read it. I need to learn to get rid of my inner drill sergeant. This big-crazy-adoptive-family thing isn't for the faint of heart. Blessings on you all!

Anonymous said...

Older mom/drill sergeant of eight (five adoptions) learning from younger mom. Great reminder of why they sometimes...quite frequently lie. I can so relate. It was wonderful to read of how stepping back gave her the freedom to speak from her heart. I also remember the very moment and place my then 11yr old daughter cried, hugged me, and told me she loved me, seven years ago. Sadly, she must still find it difficult to love this drill sergeant enough to say it. How unlovable can I be? Always working on myself...except when I'm not, and I'm working too hard on her.
Drill Sergeant in the Midwest

Courtney Cassada said...

wow! amazing!!!

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