Swimming vs. Drowning

When we were teaching J to swim, it was not a pretty sight.  “Are you swimming or drowning?”  I would yell, getting ready to jump in and save him if needed.  Most of the time he would yell back, “Swimming!”   Sometimes he would tell me he wasn’t sure.  I always wondered how it was possible that he didn’t know if he was swimming or drowning.  And then these last couple of weeks happened…and now I get it. 

Our kids are attending the school program for day care so that they can attend summer school…it’s making them sicker.  There are a million different caregivers (ie high school kids), limited structure and supervision, and far too much electronics.  Charlie and I are managing some unexpected grief issues, and this leaves us (me?) emotionally slightly unavailable.  We are negotiating the contact agreement for T, and it’s leaving me feeling frustrated and sad and angry.  Grad school finished up…and rather than feeling like a huge giant relief, it kind of left this weird hole.  Not a bad hole, mind you, but a hole  I need to fill.  I just finished reading the book “God-Shaped Hole,” and I have been reflecting on this a lot. 

“We’re all searching for something to fill up what I like to call that big, God-shaped hole in our souls. Some people use alcohol, or sex, or their children, or food, or money, or music, or heroin. A lot of people even use the concept of God itself. I could go on and on. I used to know a girl who used shoes. She had over two-hundred pairs. But it’s all the same thing, really. People, for some stupid reason, think they can escape their sorrows.”
Tiffanie DeBartolo, God-Shaped Hole

Last week, I had my lowest moment in motherhood thus far.  I let their hate be bigger than my love, and I really sort of lost it.  (read: I (honestly) threw a banana across the room).  In a desperate moment, knowing I needed to re-connect but feeling too out of control and angry and sad to do so, I scooped J up and I wept.  We sobbed together for a solid 20 minutes.  Afterwards, he cried…”I like living here and I like that you are my Mom and I’m SORRY I do those things.” 

There is a fine line between swimming and drowning, folks.




Superman is adopted, and his last name is Kent.

Before I get into the cute unicorns and sunshine bit, I should preface this by saying that I may or may not be slowly (quickly?) going crazy. Nuts. Insane. Bat…shit…crazy. Early last week, I had to take J to an appointment in the cities. My sweet little toothless angel turned into a kid I only recognize from our first few months. Something about this appointment triggered total and complete “survival mode.” For kids with attachment issue, this looks like 1) charming the pants off every stranger around, 2) displaying zero boundaries (climbing into laps, attempting to hold hands, etc with strangers), and 3) Throwing Mom under the bus to make people feel sorry. (ie Mommy doesn’t feed me, Mommy doesn’t keep me safe, Mommy doesn’t XYZ). It took me so off guard that I could hardly think fast enough about how to respond. Whoa.

July 18th (a few days after the appointment) marked the one year anniversary of J and A moving in for good. I had been thinking about it a lot, and excitedly (read: impulsively) announced this. Anyone that knows anything about adoption and trauma and attachment would probably know this was *not* my most genius idea ever. So…essentially, I signed a line that said something to the effect of: TO ENSURE YOUR KIDS TRY TO SABOTAGE THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOU THIS WEEK, SIGN HERE _________________.

We had fabulous weekend planned in our home town, and while what our kids probably needed was a quiet and predictable weekend at home, Charlie and I needed sanity more. The weekend paused all of the behaviors for the most part…allegedly carnivals, parades, fireworks, and candy will do that! Sweet!  Such a great weekend.  And then we went back into reality. Darn it. Quite instantly after we pulled back onto the road it all came flooding back, and as is most common, Mom is the big target. It would honestly be quite fascinating if I wasn’t getting so darn triggered.

This morning, out of the blue, “A” randomly said – “Isn’t it awesome that Superman is adopted AND his last name is Kent?” It is awesome. And speaking of superheroes…I sobbed in my car today listening to The Script’s new song, Superheroes. Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCuKckoX5z0

Tonight, I am reminding myself that my kiddos are protecting themselves the best they know how…they are survivors. Tomorrow, I’m going to love them all over again. We can fight this beast together. Superman is adopted, after all.