Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Sunday, January 17, 2016


Have you met her? She is a very special friend of mine. Captive to her lure, my auto-pilot default setting is to keep her near me always. She readies my mind alert, eager to mull major and minute details, around and around until forever, then start at the beginning again. (Refresh!) She keeps me company at night with fitful spells of sleep between eyes wide awake, staring into the darkness bouts.

Since adopting our kids nearly six years ago, she and I have grown infinitely closer. There's just so much to think through. How I've failed them! How they've failed me! The bleakness of the future! The tell all books they will one day write about me! How the prison's visiting hours schedule will coincide with homey Sunday dinners!

Never was this more true than last year when Meadow was facing her lowest, darkest time to date. I was anxious. Fretful over the future. Hurt by her actions. Fearful of what she might do. Not sleeping. Taking her to therapists who were of no help to the root of her concerns. Why don't you make a problem box and write your problems down on a piece of paper, then place them in the box? It was an entirely wretched few months.

It was then that I pulled her closer than ever for weeks on end of Parenting Within Arm's Reach. Buddies. Companions. Shadows. Velcro. You make dinner, I make dinner. You go for a run, I go for a run. You hang laundry, I hang laundry. You pick up doggie do, guess what? Me too! I love doggie doo duty! This was what eventually pulled her out of her pit and into lighter, more-conducive-for-family-life behaviors.

Until this year. When it began again. A lull. A relapse. A step backward. A hundred. A fresh start, diving headfirst into those awful lack-of-healthy-attachment-driven actions. The ones that worry me to no end and draw Rumination close.

Except this time, I decided no matter what, come hell or the highest RAD water, I would not, could not, succumb. I couldn't go to those depths with her again. It was not good for any of us.

Though it wouldn't be easy, I would not enter the trauma vortex and be sucked into oblivion, allowing everyone in its wake to be drug down. We would not emotionally fuse. I am the adult here. My world would not be encompassed by this. I would not give these maladaptive behaviors power over me, over my family. I would win the battle for control over my mind, my days, my nights.

It would require a relentless take no prisoners approach. We would have our joy and our laughter, too, damn it.

I would still dance. I would still sing. I would play music and laugh and do all I can to win every board game and help her to the best of my ability without falling prey to the constant, exasperating stewing.

I would not, will not take ownership of the fullness of her inner tumult.

My daughter must take responsibility for her own thoughts, actions, and deeds. I must take responsibility for mine.

It has been good for all of us. Even Meadow. Everyone is more relaxed when I offer the illusion of having things mostly in hand.

Though she stands on the edge peering in, ready to invade my inner sanctum at a moment's notice, Rumination has had to learn to step aside. Sorry, old friend. Some matches just aren't made to last.

I've got sleeping to do.

1 comment:

Erika Stanley said...

This was for me. Thank you for my slap in the face. It's been a better since then. I'm trying so hard to not get sucked in. I have a constant conversation in my head, "He does not rule me. I'm in charge here. I will not loose my joy." At this moment he sits beside me snapping scissors saying, "You're disgusting. I hate you." And I say, "That's nice dear."

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