Adoption = Disaster
Posted by Casey
I had great intentions and high hopes for the first post of 2015; the first writings of the year should be spectacular. Start the year off with a bang, and all that. Instead, I’m just getting back on the horse any way I can. Our first week has been a bit rough.
In some countries, Christmas arrives on January 7; gifts are often exchanged on Christmas Eve, January 6. While those children unwrapped presents, our household received a gift of an entirely different kind.
In an earlier post, I mentioned Holiday Hell. This year had lower levels of angst than usual (we held to regular bedtimes when possible, which helped). Usually the kids have multiple meltdowns, but this year they expressed their feelings mostly by lying. In general, I’ll take lying instead of meltdowns; most of the time it’s less exhausting. However, they lied about EVERYTHING, and they did it badly.
Sometimes I wish they at least tried to cover their tracks. I just don’t understand why they lie when they are so inept at doing it.
Me: “Who was sneaking sweets from the pantry?”
Child: “Oh, not me, mama.” (wipes chocolate from his mouth, looks at hand in surprise) “How did that get there?”
Child (tattling loudly): “He threw the cat down the slide!”
Me: “Who brought the cat to the slide?”
Child: “I did.”
Me: “How did the cat get up the ladder?”
Child: I carried it.
Me: “Who put the cat on the slide?”
Child: “I did.”
Me: “Did your brother touch the cat at any point?”
Me: “Who threw the cat down the slide?”
Child: “He did.”
Me: “But you said he didn’t touch the cat.”
Child: “He didn’t.”
Me (hoping for recognition of fact): “So, if your brother didn’t touch the cat, who threw the cat down the slide?”
Child: “HE DID.”
Me: “Wait. If he didn’t touch the cat, how did he throw the cat down the slide?”
Child (thinks for a moment): “Oh.”
He lies to stay out of trouble, she lies to get him in trouble. I should probably be thankful that they’re so transparent, but on the other hand, it’s a bit insulting. You really think I’m that dumb, do you? (Yes, I know that’s not actually their thought process, and yes, I understand that lying is a survival technique they have been conditioned to use thanks to their previous experiences. It’s still extremely frustrating.)
Back to January 6.
I was working hard on a project, Hubby was under tight deadlines at work. The kids had been lying up a storm for the last three weeks. Stress levels were high.
Our son has Scouts on Mondays and knows that he needs to be ready when Hubby gets home from work. I was working on the computer upstairs, and called down to him, on three separate occasions, “Are you fully ready to walk out the door? Are you sure? You have on your entire uniform and you have your book?” and each time our guy said that he was absolutely ready to go.
I heard Hubby’s car in the drive and ran downstairs to throw together a sandwich so he didn’t have to go to the meeting hungry. I stumbled over our boy, who sat on the stairs playing. He was missing half his uniform, and what he wore was unbuttoned and untucked. Hubby entered just then. “Why isn’t he ready” “Why aren’t you ready?” “I am ready!” Our guy then proceeded to tell me, in front of Hubby, that “Daddy said I didn’t have to wear my uniform pants.” Hubby and I looked at each other in shock.
One minute backstory: at the Scout Christmas party, I noticed a bunch of boys in jeans. I waited until our son was definitely out of earshot, then asked Hubby if jeans were okay, since I was under the impression they should be in uniform. He said that some kids either didn’t have uniform pants or just wore the jeans, but he wants our guy to be in full uniform every time. Another leader, standing by, agreed that full uniform is preferred.
We both knew that Hubby never said he could wear jeans, and the blatant lie in front of us both was the last straw. We had a very long, very loud “discussion.” You know the kind…all families have at least one, but no one wants to admit it out loud. You know me; I’ll happily admit our mistakes to make everyone else feel more normal.
Anyway, that Bible verse about how there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth”…yeah, that was our house. The boy was weeping and Hubby and I ground our molars down a few millimeters. Hubby decided to go ahead to the meeting, since he needed to get some information for a Scouting event. Our boy stayed in his room. I went to clean the kitchen.
A few minutes later, still sniffling about being left behind, our son called, “Mama…should my ceiling look like that?”
I walked into our son’s room to see a huge bow in the ceiling, water dripping from the middle. I ran to get a bucket and a knife, then poked a hole and held the bucket while water poured out of the ceiling. After several minutes, the water slowed to a continual drip. I called Hubby, already at the meeting. “I know you just got there, but you need to come home. We have a leak.”
The kids and I moved everything from the wet side of the room. Hubby arrived and began tearing out the ceiling. We all worked together for the next hour, carrying soaked pieces of our house to the back porch.
Hubby removed part of the wall upstairs and found the leak. We shut the water off. The four of us collapsed together on the floor, satisfied with our disaster mitigation.
The leak gave us new perspective. Hubby and I apologized for yelling about the lying, explaining that we were extremely stressed but that’s still no excuse, especially considering we have a “no yell” policy. Our boy apologized for lying, since we also have a tell-the-truth policy. We all hugged. I said, “You know, sometimes we screw up, but when there’s an actual crisis, we all work really well together.”
Our guy nodded. “Yeah. That’s because we’re family.”
The evening of January 6, we were all extremely stressed, exhausted and on edge. I would have said that the last thing we needed was a two-floor leak.
God knew that a huge leak was exactly what we needed. It helped us see the big picture and refocus on our family’s relationship.
“The Big Leak of 2015” was the best Christmas Eve gift of all.
(But for the record, I’d like to skip any additional major disasters for the rest of the year.)