The good is so good, but the hard is so hard…

13 Jun

Our day started as normal, wake up, breakfast, summer homework and chores.  (Mainly for her brothers) She toddled around them, following them, “helping them”.  The rest of the morning did not go as normal.

A simple, let’s go upstairs to get dressed turned into a one-hour heartbreaking sob where she laid in my arms, half-dressed, crying her broken little heart out.  It started from not wanting to get dressed, but it went so much deeper than that.  When I asked her if her belly hurt, she shook her head.  When I asked her if her head hurt, she shook her head.  When I asked her if her throat hurt, she shook her head.  “Where is your owie?”  Her finger pointed at her chest.  I am not lying.  Does one’s heart hurt when it has been broken?

Here is Cora right now. Asleep on my back. All cried out. Eyes puffy.

In the midst of her tears, the doorbell rang. (Of course.)  I can not leave this child. I can not leave this moment. It was a friend wanting Miles to play. “Can I mom? Go to the park?”  I can not let him just go randomly. I can not leave this moment. I can not leave this child. I can not help that child.  L: “Where is the vacuum, Mom?  I can’t find it!” (chores)  I can not leave this moment. I can not leave this child. I can no help that child.  Those children. 

There is one of me.  There is  three of them.

Lest you think it’s all roses in this house, let me tell you that it is not easy teaching or allowing a child to learn what having parents means or necessarily PARENTING a child who has never had parents.

Having parents means means you do not always make your own rules. It means that you can’t always be the “boss”.  You are allowed to take help.  You can’t do it all on your own.  You never should have had to learn that you had to do it on your own.  Mom’s and Dad’s make rules to keep children safe and happy.  It is not about your ability or my authority, it is about love. When you cry, it’s mom’s job to help wipe the tears.  When you need food cut up, it’s mom’s job to do that for you.  You do not always need “a lot” of everything because we will always give you more if you run out.  You will not go hungry. I will not bribe you with snacks.

You do not need to clean up my spills. I am allowed to clean up yours.  I can dry you and put lotion on your body – you do not need to do that.  I will wash the shampoo out of your hair carefully so it does not run in your eyes.  You do not need to force your face in the water and push me away. I can help you velcro your shoes. I can put your socks on your feet. I can help you get dressed.  I can comb your hair. You do not need to do it all alone.

We haven’t so much talked about the hard stuff because A: we expected it and B: it’s far less than we expected, but I think that perhaps we’ve failed to bring light to most if it because we’re focusing on the positive. And there IS so much more positive than hard, but the hard is there and the hard is real and the hard is part of our life right now.

Dave and I haven’t had a real conversation in 2 months that wasn’t over text when the kids were asleep.  I’m still up in my room when Cora falls asleep in case she wakes up.  Her silent cries are the most heartbreaking and I don’t dare miss them.  My days are literally helping Cora learn how to be a daughter and a sister.  How to know she is 100% fully and genuinely loved.  We talk about love all day long, we show signs of love and we are ever aware of where her eyes are focusing in on. She is 5, but she is not 5.  She was never given the arms of a sole person who loved her.  For the first year of her life she went from hospital to “reception room” to hospital to baby room.  She had surgery and procedures with no one there to comfort her who knew her and loved her.   Even just 8 months ago she had surgery and if sweet Sarah is remembering correctly, she was dropped off.  Dropped off! Can you imagine dropping off your 4 yr old for surgery and picking her up when it was time to come home?

It is not easy! It is not easy to be “on” all of the time.  To not have a moment to yourself from the moment the children wake up to the moment they fall asleep and you’re stuck on a bed in a dark room with your computer and your phone so you can text your husband downstairs. It is not easy hoping that your older two will continue to coast alone with the small amounts of 1-on-1 that can be snuck in during the day.  It’s not easy seeing one of your children falling behind academically and feeling that it’s your fault for being too busy.

Right now our lives revolve around baseball.  4 games a week. We arrive, we look happy, we ARE happy! But what you didn’t see is the patience and length of time it took to prepare and get Cora out of the door.  You don’t see that if we don’t prepare for lengths of time, there is often times fear, tears and frustration.  You don’t see Dave sometimes leaving early with the kid playing to make it on time because we’re not “there yet” with Cora.  We can not just shove her in her seat and buckle her in and say, “time to go!”.  She doesn’t work that way. You don’t see that we almost always have to hold her wrist instead of her hand in the parking lot because she doesn’t think she needs to be “held” and she fights it tooth and nail, yet we know it’s not safe.  She would run off and care for herself if she could. And she probably could.

You might see a child who is thriving at baseball. Who is so cute and adored by her brothers and her parents.  And how glad that I am that you see that because it is true.  But there is more than that.  You don’t see that when she’s not getting her way, she throws one of her caretaker’s names in there telling me that “name” says so! And how she’s right! She’s in charge and she’s the boss.  And of course she is because she was the boss for so many years.  I don’t know when, if ever, I’ll be allowed to be the boss. The one in charge. But I’ll tell you what: It’s not now. And I’m OK with that! I really am! I LOVE “caretaker” for the love she showed Cora.  But it is not easy always being pushed away.

The silver lining in here is that she IS learning, she IS starting to trust.  50% of the time these last few days her hand holding in the parking lot isn’t refused.  (OK, maybe 25% of the time. But at least it’s not 0% anymore!)  She is starting to understand that mom makes the rules on the things that need rules. (Though she doesn’t like it)  She knows she is LOVED!  She does! She’ll spontaneously tell us she loves us.  (And tell us she doesn’t love us when things aren’t in her favor) She’s learning! And laughing! And loving!  And we are too!  And we’re surviving.  And failing in other aspects.  But in all reality, my brain is so full of what’s happening in the moment to really have time to focus on all of the areas I’m failing in. And it’s a lot.

But this isn’t the time yet to focus in on what I’m failing on because that will only drag me down and I’m doing so well in staying positive.  (really!) Sure, I have moments and I won’t lie, the possible diagnosis has me wanting to run away. Pack up my family and run far far away, so I try not to focus on the negative areas and see the blessings in our daily life.

Today, I am thankful for my 10 year old who took my 7 year old to the park to meet his friend so Cora could regroup with a nap on my back. I’m thankful that the boys know they are loved and that no matter what happens, we’re a unit. And I wait for the day when Cora fully and willingly accepts her role as an equal member of this unit with all of the good and bad that goes along with being part of a unit.  It’s a long road and I’m not even sure we’ve made it one block in the path yet, but we’ve got a full tank of gas and we’re going to make it.

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3 Responses to “The good is so good, but the hard is so hard…”

  1. grammom June 13, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

    Oh Jennifer, I am so sorry we are so far away. An hour and a half feels like a million miles…and we can do nothing to help ease this transition. We are so excited to have Cora in our family and can not wait for her to feel that she has folded into her forever family unit and will gladly run out to give grandma and grandpa a hug when we come to visit the way the boys do. I know God will continue to give you all strength. If there is anything we can do to help, all you need do is ask. We love all of our kids and grand kids more than words can say.

  2. stephanie June 17, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

    Jen, you express the reality of it all so well. It is so good and yet so hard all rolled into one. I love the pictures you take with her on your back. She will LOVE seeing those one day. I really can’t wait until our families can meet each other.

  3. Bridget Cole June 21, 2012 at 1:46 am #

    you are doing a fantastic job! I am learning a lot from you. I know it is tiring, exhausting, rewarding, amazing……and it WILL be (and is now) so worth it! You describe so much of what we have, and do deal with. And I am sure will be dealing with again soon. But I would not trade it for the world!

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