Monday, February 25, 2008

Back from silencia

Hey faithful readers!!! Sorry I have been so absent. I've been having fun. And when not having fun, I've been sleeping. :-)
First, Matthew's foster mother, Lisa, came to visit (the week of the 11th to the 15th) for the first time since we left Thailand. It was beautiful to see them together, rekindling their relationship and was wonderful to have her here, and it strengthened our resolve to maintain contact with her, and to visit her sometime in the future. She lives in Pennsylvania. While she was here we also got to see Matthew's foster brother who lives with his forever family in Richmond. He is now almost four! Wow, time flies. Brent made us some GOOD Thai food that week, and we spent some relaxing hours together. It was perfect.
Last week I worked 3 days. I had not worked for two weeks previous, so I had to put in some time. The only call of note that week was a "possible stroke" which we were dispatched to, which it turned out I (correctly) diagnosed as a heart attack with abnormal symptoms (yay, me!), precipitating a code 3 ride to the hospital from his house, and which would have precipitated needing ALS but we were closer to the hospital than we were to ALS, so we just got him in the ambulance and gunned it. Massive heart attack. Huge. Luckily caught early, recognized early, and treated early. He'll be fine.
THEN...I went away this past weekend, for a girl's weekend away with my cousin and four of her friends, who I know slightly in varying degrees. I took the ferry to Victoria on Friday, READ A BOOK on the ferry in blissful solitude, slept at her house that night, READ A BOOK to ease myself asleep, and slept in (until 8...ha...ha...that used to be an early rise for me...)!!!!! We then packed up a minivan with six moms, 12 bags, $164 worth of groceries, enough alcohol to saturate a small planet, and a very large, very heavy, very ancient CD case of Sara's, and we drove up to Shawnigan Lake, a beautiful lake nestled in the woods on Vancouver Island. My aunt and uncle have a condominium on this lake, and we stayed there for the night. Can you believe that six women ate $164 worth of food in less than 24 hours? Ridiculous. But the food was GOOD. Can yo believe that, since two of us were pregnant, FOUR women drank enough alcohol to saturate a small planet? Even more ridiculous.
We had a blast.
Next day we drove back to Victoria, hit a book sale where I bought 7 books for $7, and drove me back to the ferry for another blissful, solitary trip buried in my book. I tell you, I didn't want to come back!!!!!!! :-D I'm well armed with reading material for the next few weeks, at least. One of my books was a children's book which is set in Thailand! Rare find! I'm happy, happy, happy to have had the weekend off.
This morning I went to aerobics as usual, and my tummy is beginning to get in the way. Last week, it was fine. This week, I kept bumping into it with my knees and it is impossible to lie on my stomach or my back anymore. Technically I'm lying on my stomach right now while typing this, but I have a pillow under my armpits which props me up enough to make the pressure on my beach ball belly just bearable. The nausea is officially gone--I even ate eggs on my weekend away! But, headaches have started. Hefty headaches that make it hard to drive, or cook, or concentrate, or be cheerful. When I sneeze I just about die of a brain explosion. Dunno why?? Hm. But I have been so good about eating every 2 to 3 hours that I haven't had a hypoglycemic episode since Brent got home, and no spider nightmares since Christmas. Hooray!
The boys are good. Ayden has continued jumping and echoing the Lorax every night, and sounding out quite a few words. He spent 1/2 an hour this evening counting out numbers on my calendar this evening, so now he knows all his numbers up to #31. I love to watch him explore and learn.
Matthew has been weepy and insecure for a week or two. ??? Lisa's visit? Daddy's return? Me working 3 days last week? Me going away? Growth spurt? Tired? New level of emotional development/intellectual understanding of adoption (via Lisa)? Change in weather? Sometimes these things are so opaque.
I went to visit a friend last week and we got talking about difficult times in our lives, and I expressed that I still carry a lot of guilt regarding my handling of Matthew's transition into our family. She said, simply, "You know you have to let that go." And it struck me that I do. I really, really do. I had to turn around so our kids wouldn't see me cry from so deep in my gut-it would probably scare them. I knew I had to forgive myself for that time in my life when I was so unhappy and mixed up and angry and it spilled over onto my kids, but until now it has felt irresponsible to let it go. But oh, it is heavy. And it only pulls me back towards itself, like a magnet, and feeds me small portions of unhappiness (and large portions of guilt for dessert). This only makes me less able to cope with and manage the present, and less able to express unconditional acceptance for Matthew in a way that will calm his insecurities.
My cousin Sara put it this way on Saturday, "You know, Matthew came, you had a difficult time adjusting, and that's it. You can't label or judge yourself for that. Especially because you GIVE him so much."
So, it is time. I'm letting go of my guilt, my self imposed flagellation, my sharp earthly penance, that voice in my head that tells me, "You fail. You are a bad mother. You damaged your son. Matthew is insecure. Unhappy. Grief stricken. Emotionally stunted. Because of you. You are bad. You are angry. You are boring. You are tense. You are.........."
Here is what I am telling that voice, that lying voice:
SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Once and for all.

I am a free woman.

I am floating! I feel weird. Exposed, somehow, and too heavy in some parts of me and too light in others. I keep wanting to pick up that gross, ugly, black worm on the ground and re-insert it back in my head as the guilty voice, just because it's familiar. What do I fill my head with, now that I'm no longer a failure? It's kind of quiet in there. I'll keep you posted. Thanks for listening. blog friends.


Lynne Reside said...

Good insight Melissa and also your amazing cousin Sara! Don't ever set yourself up for perfection with your children. We all make mistakes we have to live with and it's all a learning experience. Children who are loved and live in an environment where there is a feeling of abundance will be resilient and that is what all children need - the ability to survive in spite of our imperfect parenting not because of our perfect parenting. It prepares them well for life! As a grandparent I am in awe of you and Brent and Sara and Leigh - you are all such thoughtful and intelligent parents.

Have you read "Hold onto your Kids?" (Gordon Neufeld) It's a great book Another one is"Last Child in the Woods" (Louv)

Tonya said...

I'm so glad you're back! I missed you! I'm reading an interesting book about childbirth that I can see you liking. It's called Birthing from Within. Have you read it? Has a bunch of chapters about doing art in pregnancy. All I can think is how drawing a stick figure and a tree (like I would in kindergarten) would benefit me. :-) I'm so not in touch with my "artistic side". :-)

About forgiving yourself - YES! Remember you are to "take every thought captive". STOP those negative thoughts and replace them with Truth. Yep, I'm a sinner, but a forgiven sinner. Christ lives in me. The Holy Spirit guides me. "Therefore there is NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (That could be a really bad paraphrase.) The point being, remember who you are in Christ, not who you are in your flesh.

Roboseyo said...

Wow! Worth every second of waiting for the post. What an inspiring, wonderful moment! Thank you for letting us be a part of it. I'm glad you have it here, online, because that makes it more tangible that you've thrown that ugly, joy-sapping worm on the ground.

Joy joy joy!

It's funny how you've probably heard or thought what your cousin said to you, like, a zillion times, but this time it stuck. I'm really glad, friend. You know we're out here in the blogosphere rooting for you and supporting you.

Give your family my love too.

(PS: you're a friggin' awesome paramedic, too)

tamie said...

Mel! I'm so glad that you posted this. Thanks for being vulnerable out here in the blogosphere. I really reap a lot from what you write. What an incredible moment, to let go of self-judgment, of guilt. Miraculous, my friend, just miraculous.

And I'm so glad that you had such a fantastic weekend! Good food! Books! Good friends! Excellent, just excellent.

You are so so loved. You are so so amazing. Keep knowing it! Leave the black worm on the ground; maybe someday even the black worm will be transformed into a butterfly.

melissa said...

Thank you for continuing to check in even when I'm a long time in absentia. And thank you so, so much for your support. I know when I throw myself out there that you listen, and that you care.
Today with matthew was different, it really was. Not TOTALLY different, but I felt like the wind had shifted a bit in our relationship. Awesome. I had to battle that persistent worm all day, especially in the evening, but I managed to keep him out of my ear. For the most part. I think I'll name him. Stu, short for Stfu, which is what I tell him when he wants to talk to me. Damn Stu.
Oh, Tamie, I hope one day that Stu will become a butterfly. I hope, I hope. Your comment gave me hope, because up until now I've just wanted him cremated! We'll have to see what God can do with him instead.
xo my friends.

Dana said...

YIPPPEEEEEEEE! Rootin' for ya!

Jenna said...

Oh so many wonderful things in your blog! First, I love the term, "forever family" -so great. Also, what an amazing weekend! Do that as often as you can. Isn't it great to just have time to have your own thoughts and do things because you want to do them...
And, I'm so happy for the freedom that you're feeling! I can't begin to understand your experience with adoption but I know the fear and guilt that I could ruin my kids. I know I have the ability to do it too. I guess I just trust that God is smarter than me and He's helping and looking out for us. So glad I'm not on my own!
Thanks for your writing. I love it love it!