Tuesday, June 14, 2016

taking my space

So, those of you who know me know I tend to move in the world of extremes. Japan has taught me a lot about grey areas, but they are still hard for me to navigate, so what guides my day-day-day is the feeling that I should be doing things perfectly and mindfully. Everything. Teaching classes, interacting with the kids, doing my research. I berate myself for the time I spend in front of the computer playing solitaire between tasks, and yet I do it. I deserve a break, but what about all those things I could be doing instead, like prepping classes for next week, writing conference proposals, or polishing up that book chapter that I won't need to submit for, oh, about a year from now.

One of the hardest things for to pull away from right now is that idea that everything I say and do (or don't do) will have the profoundest effect on my children and will send them scampering off to the shrink as soon as they can afford to. Thanks to the girl's current shrink and former caregivers, I have been assured that it will take between 1-2 years before the girl realizes that she's made the right decision in coming to live with us. There's not a damn thing I can do. My friend Shawn assures me that "You can be the best parent in the world and you won't be able to do anything until she's ready."He says that the best thing to do is make the kids feel safe and loved. We are doing that. And feeding the hollow-legged monsters, let me tell you. Will have to get another part time job just to support the amount of milk that gets consumed every week.

Back to the shrink, caregiver, my pal Shawn, and another friend who shared her story with me (I wrote about her in the last post, I think). These words have freed me. Now, instead of hovering around the kids wondering if they need/want anything, I do what I really want to do: lie down on the couch and read a book after working all day. And if a kid wanders in and asks to play a game, for me to listen to their homework reading, or read to them, I put down my book and do it. I do what I want until they want to do something with me. Then I do that.

And things have calmed considerably. Last night was amazing. While I read my book on the couch, both kids sat at the kitchen table and did homework while hubby cooked dinner (so you don't think I'm a lazy ass, I did make miso soup and the rice was already cooked). After dinner, the boys went out to play soccer in the park, so the girl and I played Uno (her rules) and had fun taking pictures of her with snapchat. When the boys came back, both children wanted to play Uno, so we did that. No fighting which was amazing.

I'd hoped to go to bed early, but the boy begged for a bedtime story. I read it and while doing so, the girl got into bed, pressed right up against me and read her book. When I finished reading to the boy, the girl decided to read two very moving books to me. She feel asleep pressed up against me.

How I'd waited for this! Now it's here and sooner than expected (I thought i'd have to wait a year). Mind you, I tried ruffling her hair and she got mad and told me to cut it out very loudly. The cuddling will be on her terms. I must just sit back and let her come to me -- like one of those cats who likes to sit on your lap, but jumps off if you pet it. The boy was like that, too.

Feeling more like myself than I have since we moved into the new place. I guess it takes 3 months for everyone, not only the kids, to get used to the new situation.

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