Do overs

I went to a training this week by Heather Forbes (an adoptive Mom/therapist) called “Beyond Consequences for Professionals: Working with Families of Trauma.”  I love being able to go trainings for my kids under the cover of work 🙂  One of the things she discussed a lot was developmental re-tracking.  For example, when my kids were toddlers, they were worried about whether or not Mommy was safe from Daddy and how they were going to get their next meal.  What they SHOULD have been worried about was whether or not they got 2 bedtime stories or 3.  If they could have dessert after their healthy meal.  If their favorite pajamas were finished being washed.  You get the picture.  One camp of professionals believes that kids need to “do over” these experiences in order to continue healthy development.  I watched my 8 year old son play with his infant sister’s toys for close to an hour tonight, as he often does, and I really processed this. **Picture shared with his permission

jakeplay

I preach to so many families I work with to allow access to “younger” toys for this reason, but when your own kids are doing it, it’s kind of strange.  Honestly, sometimes it’s annoying.  I find myself getting frustrated, and it can be hard to resist the urge to say things that could be shaming.  We bottle fed and rocked, and truthfully – I disliked every minute of it.  (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I’m a much better therapist than I am a mother).   The training was just the refresher I needed, though.  I saw pictures of Heather’s 19 year old daughter doing things like playing in a park and rocking with her Mom, and I felt renewed energy and renewed hope.  Tonight, rather than ROLL my eyes, my eyes teared up as I watched him play with the baby toys.  He feels safe enough to explore and “do over” those early years that all of us would give so much to change. I watched my little baby and my big baby playing side by side, exploring and learning and growing, and I vowed to keep my damn mouth shut from now on while he gravitates towards continued healing.

Burning House

A few months ago, I heard a song on the radio on my way home from work- “Burning House” by Cam.  I don’t listen to country frequently, and I was intrigued at the guitar intro.  It had been a heavy night of trauma therapy, and  by the 4th line I had tears in my eyes.

“I had a dream about a burning house
You were stuck inside, I couldn’t get you out
I laid beside you and pulled you close
And the two of us went up in smoke”

Those that know our sweet J probably have difficulty connecting to the kiddo who came to us with a “strong interest in fire!”  I was *terrified* he was going to burn our house down for a loooong time, and I had so many nightmares about fires.  Many of the nightmares were the kids inside the house and not being able to get them out.  Some of it came from the fire fear, and a lot of it was symbolic for feeling like we couldn’t “save” them.  (I know, I know, no one asked us to save them.)  This song is clearly about a romantic relationship, but the great thing about music is we can interpret it and feel it any way we want.  Those early feelings came flooding back when I listened to the lyrics!   It’s a beautiful song, and I have listened to it many times since that night in the car.  Every time I listen to it, I hear something else I can relate to in our adoption journey.  I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and sometimes music can help me process things.  I guess I just wanted to share that.  So…the rest of the lyrics are:

“Love isn’t all that it seems I did you wrong
I’ll stay here with you until this dream is gone

I’ve been sleepwalking, been wandering all night
Trying to take what’s lost and broke and make it right
I’ve been sleepwalking too close to the fire
But it’s the only place that I can hold you tight
In this burning house

See you at a party and you look the same
I could take you back but people don’t ever change
Wish that we could go back in time
I’d be the one you thought you’d find

Love isn’t all that it seems I did you wrong
I’ll stay here with you until this dream is gone

I’ve been sleepwalking, been wandering all night
Trying to take what’s lost and broke and make it right
I’ve been sleepwalking too close to the fire
But it’s the only place that I can hold you tight
In this burning house

The flames are getting bigger now
In this burning house
I can hold on to you somehow
In this burning house
Oh, and I don’t wanna wake up
In this burning house

And I’ve been sleepwalking, been wandering all night
Trying to take what’s lost and broke and make it right
I’ve been sleepwalking too close to the fire
But it’s the only place that I can hold you tight
In this burning house.”

Sometimes, even though our social media lives look super awesome, things are still hard.  Sometimes, it’s really painful and scary to trust each other.  Settling into a routine is sometimes harder than the chaos of the beginning.  Eye contact can be too vulnerable for all of us.  Cold days at home are more intimate (harder) than busy days at activities.  Sometimes we wish we could be better parents…do better…be more present…feel differently.   Sometimes, I feel the closest to the kids when our house is metaphorically on fire.   I can hold them tight in the burning house, trying to take what’s lost and broke and make it right.  Does the true healing happen when the fire is gone?  For all of us?

burning house