Great Chocolate. Bad Advice. Part 2
Continued from Part 1
Get lost on purpose.
Sure, candy company. This is a great idea.
Let me disconnect my GPS, toss my phone and just start driving.
Forget about picking up the kids from school or assisting clients or happy greetings from me and the four-leggeds when Hubby arrives home.
Sometimes I do get lost, but not on purpose.
I have no maps in my head. I’ve tried. TRIED. Again, I blame books. From childhood through my early twenties is buried in books. Blessed with an iron stomach, trips to the grocery store or dentist were escapes to islands of treasure or conversations with diminutive females. (See what I did there?)
On annual expeditions up winding routes through mountains to see the glorious autumn red, gold and purple leaves, my mother called out every thirty seconds, “PUT YOUR BOOK DOWN!” Nothing deterred me from a good read.
Unfortunately, this also precluded me from the company of my slightly-more-motion-sensitive sibling, six years my junior, who paid attention to the road and could find his way home when he was approximately thirty months.
I still have trouble remembering…is it right? Or left?
Hubby still laughs at me for getting mixed up in the woods behind our house. In my defense, I couldn’t see anything but trees.
I traipsed out to give him something, then turned to head back to the house. He stopped me, then asked our (then seven and nine year old) children, “Which way is the house?” They pointed. Not the direction I’d started walking.
Do you need me to embarrass myself further? You get the point. I have no sense of direction. Getting lost on purpose would not be difficult.
But if I were to lose myself (especially—as so many times during our first 24 months with wild hyenas—when I feel the urge to do so), how would disappearing help? I submit to you that it would NOT.
“Getting lost,” whether a literal or figurative disappearance, is not the answer.
I can say this with unequivocal, earnest passion because for about a year, I followed this bitter chocolate advice. I buried myself, my dreams, my emotions, my yearnings. So worried that I would attach too deeply to these insanely wild creatures, only to be torn from them, I distanced myself. I got lost. On purpose.
I became an automatMom, going through the motions. On the surface, I appeared as happy as every other adoptive mom of kids with behavioral needs. We all smile in public.
Side note: Speaking of smiling in public, I just read about a couple who adopted a sibling group of five, then added a bio child. Their story is similar to our own (plus four kids) and when I read the upbeat, sappy parental commentary, I couldn’t hold back the sardonic laughter. Either 1. they’re putting on a front for the media, 2. they’re still in the honeymoon stage and the kids are doing everything they can to not screw up, or 3. (for all their sakes, I hope this is the case) it’s really a fairytale story. If it’s either of the first two, and you know them, feel free to direct them here. I can at least let them know survival is possible.
Reality slapped me the day our son hugged me on his own (this is big) and I didn’t react. I hugged him back, of course, but on the inside…no spark of maternal warmth. Looking back, I can see that Hubby and I were both pushed to our limit and exhausted. If I could go back to give “pre-adoptive us” some advice, it would be this: FIND RESPITE. USE IT.
We weren’t aware of many resources available to us (and were too overwhelmed and spent to look for them).
The day he hugged me, I realized I’d been holding back on our kids. Being lost—to myself and to them.
For the record, leaving to “find yourself” is ridiculous. The best way to find yourself, if you notice that you’re lost? Take time in your situation to measure your reactions, your thoughts, your interactions. Decide what you want “found” to look like…and then work toward those goals one step, one moment at a time.
I am no longer lost to my children—and I do not EVER intend to get lost on purpose.
Stay present. On purpose.
You want advice?
Enjoy the chocolate. Recycle the wrapper.
Or, if you prefer, track down a vintage Esmerelda machine. Be careful though…it’s been twenty years. That”tall, dark stranger” might be stooped, wrinkled and bald by now.
I’ll just stick with chocolate.
Posted on January 19, 2016, in Adoption, advice, Blogging101, Chocolate, Food, parenting and tagged adopt, adopted, adopting, adoption, blogging101, chocolate, Dove, writing101. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.