You know 'the letters'. The 'what family should know' letters, that adoptive parents sometimes send that detail our 'parenting plan' and alternative ways to help. There really should be an ongoing series of letters that we send as we
Dear lovely family and friends who've yet to abandon us completely,
It seems so long since Teg and I became family and yet, I'm reminded everyday that we are still new to eachother. Each day, we learn something new. See a new scar. See a flash of fear. Swallow my pride. Learn a new Momma skill, forget it, relearn, forget, and learn again. Hit my knees in prayer. Reach new heights. Make a new joke. Grow tighter together. Push each other away. Hearts grow closer. See God heal. Hurt in ways I didn't know existed. (he always knew those hurts). Every moment of every day is something new.
Most of you we haven't seen or heard from in months. It's a small town, so yes, we've seen each other as you pretend to rush by, or pose not to recognize us. I understand. It is difficult to accept a friend as you've never seen her. You never had to deal with me as a mother.
I was just the one who was there for you, in your darkest hours when you were a in a bind, newly married, or a new mother and needed company, needed to bitch about your husband, needed prescriptions picked up, needed a babysitter on holiday weekends, last minute and overnights. Do you remember me? I was the one who offered to take your children for the afternoon when you had a headache, seemed overwhelmed, sick, had to work or just wanted to do something with a friend.
It must be hard for you to adjust- now that I'm a mother with a whole different set of priorities- and yes, you have dropped on that priority list. As have daily showers or even styling my hair on days it is actually clean. If you looked long enough, you'd notice that my child is usually coiffed, moisturized, dressed in
To a select group of our extended family, I want to
Your condescending, trite, pious comments piss me off.
By saying these things you simultaneously discount his history, his unique gifts, his special qualities and my exhaustion as his parent who takes it on the chin (literally and figuratively), every moment of every day of every week as this charming sweet loving child heals and adjusts to the horrors of life you dismiss as if they are fiction.
No. He is not just like all the other kids. Neither are all the other kids. You may have raised a litter of kids before but you parented each one differently because they had different needs. (You treated them all the same?!?! Well- than you are just a shitty parent. )
Just because you saw him spill his cereal bowl one day does not make you an expert on "how all kids do that." Just because you hear me say "Please, Honey. Stop talking for 30 seconds." does not make you an expert on how much he talks or doesn't talk like all the 'other kids'. Just because you spend 5 minutes attempting to put one of his shoes on and are now exhausted, does not make you an expert on how normal that can be at that age.
And don't give me that "You asked for this" haughty look, in the grocery store, either. Just keep it to yourself, or save it for someone else- cause I'm tired of seeing the whites of your eyes. YES. YES I DID ask for this. I work very hard to do the very best for this kid, which is WHY I look so freaking exhausted and frustrated from time to time. I WORK at being a good parent to my kid. I had to work damn hard, go through trials and hellfire to be a mother- and I work DAMN HARD at doing my best for my son. NO. NOT FOR YOU. Not to LOOK good. But to BE GOOD! I do NOT shrug my responsibility to him.
Until you can say you've parented THIS child before- keep your trap shut. Until you can say, you've parented a child who was mutilated again and again by people that loved him- until you can say you've parented that same child who was denied food while watching others around him eat- until you can say you thought you were doing everything for him, until you realized he didn't cry - until you can say you've seen your child dig in the dirt looking for something to eat- EFF OFF.
When you've parented a 4 yo that has a completely new body- so new that he doesn't know how it works. Like switching from a tricycle to a Army tank complete with strange transmission and limbs equivalant to the attached long rotating gun - he has no idea how to operate it, what it has for tipping point, strength, speed, or where the limbs are flying off to or how close he may come to his target. In fact- eating food with utensils and at a table setting is much like attempting that task from inside one of those moving tanks- at least the mess is. EVERY SINGLE TIME. So yes. Sometimes I let him eat with his fingers and I don't often give him cereal with milk. He eats it dry. So what. Suck it up. You don't like it? I don't care. He is making great strides in lots of areas. Thriving. Utensils aren't always at the top of the list. He's not a neanderthal- he'll figure it out. Give him time.
I do not expect you to agree with, condone, or even understand why I parent him the way I do. Could you simply respect that I'm his parent and I make parenting decisions? Until you can simply say- "I'm sorry. That sucks. Do you want to talk about it?" or "What can I do to help" and actually follow through with it- than keep your flipping trap shut- your eyes from rolling and your petulant huffs to yourself. Stop acting like you have all the answers to parenting this child- you don't. How do I know?!?! THERE ARE NO ANSWERS!!
You are a grown man/woman. Act like one. Respect the one in front of you. Support her if you can. If you can't- get the hell out of the way, cause we don't need more hurdles. If you stand in our way, YOU become a problem we don't need. And that is one easy solution. BYE BYE.
(Nice attitude huh? Can't imagine why most of my friends have abandoned me completely... )
Our year and a half update is coming soon. Think it'll sound anything like this letter? No, probably not. But it's going to feel nice to hit publish...