Friday, April 17, 2015

When Life Gives you Lemons...

I know, make lemonade. But sometimes it just doesn't happen how we want it to.  Sometimes we want to swear. And cry. 

So, I was talking to my friend the other day... Oh wait I mean...

So, I was talking to my therapist the other day, and I said, "I've been struggling with this question: Is God's intention for us to put our hope in the healing power of Jesus' redemption, OR is it for us to love people for what and who they are now and forever?" And while I'm at it, "Do people ever really heal, or am I just setting myself up for disappointment believing this?"

Three years, eleven months.  That's our adoption time frame.  My precious daughter had her worst day to date (unless I've just gotten good at blocking out the really bad days). I've been confidently telling people that Royal was older and therefore is "the hard one." He has attachment disorder, it's true he does. But it's to be expected. She has some grieving to do, but for the most part has a healthy attachment to us.

Yesterday made me a liar.

I really want to spew out all the details of our day and make her out to be the bad girl so you can feel sorry for me, but the truth is, she's not "bad." She's a victim of circumstance reacting in a predictable way (if you've studied attachment disorder as much as I have). And I'm a mom who often feels blindsided, unprepared, scared, sad, and unable to put the pieces into place no matter how hard I try and how desperately I want to make it all "right."

Last night I sobbed in my bathroom for a long time because it was all I could do. It felt like grieving. I grieved for the naive person I used to be. I grieved for the millions of kids with no parents, or abusive parents, or parents who just can't seem to know how to be good parents. I grieved for parents with lost dreams. I've so desperately hoped for the fulfillment of dreams. I grieved because I just barely believe that dreams can be fulfilled. I grieved because I don't know anymore if God wants us to dream. I grieve now because I want to believe that God is Love.

This morning I woke up with an emotion hangover. My head hurt, my eyes hurt, my brain hurt, my heart hurt. 

This is where I am.

I wrote this almost a week ago.  I published it late one night and then woke up early the next morning feeling too vulnerable, and took it down. I know some who read it will worry about me - I love you my friends who worry knowing if you care, you love me. 

I have moments when my breath leaves me and it's hard to draw in another. Pee on the floor, again. Homework not done, again. Filthy clothing in the dresser, again. Tattle tales, lies, missing valuables, missing toothbrushes, muddy footprints, angry hurtful words, again, again, again. Individually, these are small meaningless offenses.  Added together they can feel suffocating.

We don't always have horrible moments.  Right now Royal and the boys are watching the second Harry Potter movie together because he finished the book.  It amazes me that he can get through a book that big.  It amazes me that his brothers celebrate this with him with whoops and high fives.  I'm slowly, slowly learning to store away these moments of success so I can pull them out of my brain when things seem all bad.  

He's a passionate soccer player.
She wants to be on American Idol.
He loves to beat box.
She tenderly plays with her baby dolls.
They both play so well with and are loved by the neighbor kids.
He shares his deepest thoughts with me.
She wants to be with me when she's feeling shy.

Beautiful girl


Friday, April 10, 2015

Disneyland, the happiest place on earth 90% of the time...

Guess what? We had a wonderful vacation to California that included 3 days at Disneyland and 4 days at Newport beach. 

For a couple weeks before the trip my anxiety level rose considerably. Kyle and I both visited the chiropractor the day before we left because our backs were out. I played out every "worst case scenario" possible in my mind - which is weird, because that's always been Kyle's job. I'd convinced myself that Royal would have a freak out attack, like, the whole time.  Turned out, he only freaked out about 10% of the time (but more like 30%). So that's good. 

At the airport on our way

Wyatt and I took the bus and Lightrail to the airport, adding 2 hours of travel, because we can't all fit in our mini-van with a friend driving us. As soon as we got on the plane, our back pain went away.  Stress much?

Our third trip down Splash Mountain...
Once at Disneyland, we became happy fun family - 90% of the time.  About half of us are thrill seekers and love big rides. You can guess which ones by this picture. Wyatt chose this Splash Mountain muscle pose- ya, cause he has big muscles... H, L, W, &E loved everything, Royal found lots to complain about and had anxiety about how we'd manage to ride all the rides (at least 10% of the time. At least :) but I can now say, "You're not even happy at Disneyland, so I'm clearly not to blame." Ena was coerced onto the terrifying rides (poor thing. One more thing to go to therapy for) but was a good sport about it.  Fortunately, they both have fantastic reviews (now that it's all said and done).

Kyle has mastered that Irish Dance move.
Our Newport Beach house was right on the beach.  We frequently asked ourselves, "Who are these people who live here?" I hope they're all as happy as the 70 year old guy next door who danced shirtless with a beer in his hand from noon to 9pm.  Royal (and Ena) was truly made for the ocean.  He could scream, be dirty, dig, and pee to his heart's content.  The other boys and girl as well- they swam and boogie boarded in the icy water for hours.

Happy Place

By day 3 we'd mastered beach life. "Cloths? Who needs them when you have PJs?" And, if any of you feel the urge to buy us a house on Balboa Island, we'd so joyfully say, "Thank you!"

Yes, Arrested Development fans.  Balboa Island is full of banana stands.

Nicolas Cage's greatest fan.
To kill time before the airport, we went to Hollywood Blvd. to see the stars.  Harrison loves all things Nicolas Cage.  This was his big moment. Lol.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

What My 18 Year Old Self Taught Me

My mom found and sent me my diary from 1991.  It begins like this,"Tomorrow is my last day of [high] school. Graduation is on Friday Yipee! I'm so phyched."

Is that not gold? I read the rest in one sitting because A) I have a child who is graduating from high school in 3 months and I could not help but compare the two of us as peers and B) I was hearing my own 18 year old voice tell me about what I was feeling, and thinking about.

It covers the one year of my life that I went from being a child at home to an "adult", struggling to be a better person, wanting to leave my past in the past, and meeting Kyle.  And, wow, did I ever love Jesus.  If I could go back and talk to me then I'd say, "Erika, don't be so hard on yourself. Change is a process and it takes time- longer than you want it to take."

Which is weird, because that's exactly what I'd tell myself now. 

Everyday I want to write a blog about all the little things a certain someone does that drive my absolutely nuts, but as soon as I sit down to do it I think, "What's the point. I'm being a broken record."  I've been asked three times this week if things have gotten better, if he has gotten better. Honestly, it doesn't feel like it.  

I feel like I have gotten better with the way I approach behavior and that defuses a lot of his anger. I feel like I have let go of expectations and have stopped calling things out.  I sing, "Let it go, let it go, be one with the wind and snow" (I know those aren't the right words, but they rhyme better :) all the time - a constant loop in my head. I say yes when I want to say no. I sit and listen to his rants about the unfairness of the world, his mean sister, the awful kids at school, his brothers who get everything they want, me not EVER buying him new cloths/shoes/toys/candy (all not true).  I listen and say, "I hear you, I can tell you're having a hard time, that sounds terrible..." while I'm thinking, "I need to make dinner, you're making this up, do you have to complain about everything?"

But, I've also seen fruit from my patience*.  Last week he told me some very detailed stories about his life before us.  He connected some dots that help me understand his fears, anxieties and grief.  With tears in my eyes, I thanked him for trusting me with his stories.  And what about his little sister? She too has been pushing and running. But she has also been clinging and wanting me.  She said, "I love you" to me.  That's new.

Change is a process. It takes time.

We started here

*the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.