Archive for September, 2010

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feelings

September 27, 2010

I’m under the weather in a lot of ways. It’s been almost a week since my D&C, but I’ve spent much of that in a fog of pain pills and, well, pain. I’ve slept a lot, and there’s also been a certain amount of pouting and crying.

The doctors made it sound like it’s normal for people who have the procedure I did to be ready to go back to work the next day, whereas I’d be in over my head if I needed to manage a busy work day a week later. While I know this is because I don’t do well with anesthesia and perhaps because the specific painkillers I was given weren’t exactly compatible with being awake for hours at a time, it’s hard not to feel like I’m sort of a loser.

And Lee and I were sort of getting on each other’s nerves, which is what happens when she has to take care of me and all I can do is sleep. We weren’t talking about how sad we both were and about how each day we get a little less optimistic about Colton’s decision. When he didn’t call last night after we’d been promised that he and/or his foster dad would call over the weekend, I think both Lee and I got droopier.

The good news is that we’re talking to each other about it now, rather than snapping at each other. We each recognize that the other is hurting and we want to help, but there’s only so much we can do. Lee has been really frustrated by my recovery and has said things like, “What can I do to make you stop hurting?” and there’s just no answer. I don’t think there’s much of an answer about Colton, either, or about how we’re not in the same place about Rowan. All we can do is listen to each other, love each other, support each other. Also, given the way I’m feeling now, maybe take a nap.

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upcoming for Rowan

September 27, 2010

Rowan turns 16 soon, which also means Rowan has to testify against his dad soon. I’m cleared to be off work that day so I can be there in the courtroom as a witness to his courage, as he’s asked me to be. We also asked if we could take him out for a birthday dinner, but that’s going to be up to whoever has to drive him the three hours back to his foster home. He wanted to go out with us, but it’s not really his choice.

I’ve been trying to figure out what we should give him as a birthday gift, besides a small but meaningful amount of money. Several of my twitter friends suggested a wallet with the money in it, but I already gave him a wallet for Christmas. Normally I might give him a book (and I know he does at least look through the books that were part of his Christmas present) but he’s really not a good reader and I don’t want to give him any stress about that. I did think of a happy balance, though.

When Lee went overseas this summer, she brought a book of photos (both historical and modern) of our city and region as a gift for the friend who let her stay in his apartment when she first arrived. His English isn’t very good, but he can look at the photos and puzzle through relevant text if he’s interested in more detail. I think something like this would be great for Rowan, too. He’s a history buff and loves the story side of history, and while the River City area is his home too, I don’t think he’s fully been exposed to it. Now that he’s living far away, it might be nice to have some visual reminders of the place where he grew up.

Rowan is supposed to call us sometime in the next week to let us know what his current thoughts on adoption are now that he’s in his new placement. I have a feeling he’s going to say that as long as he can stay where he is, he’s not interested, but if he has to move again he wouldn’t mind it being to us. I think that’s what Lee wants to hear. I’ve always felt extra connected to him, though, and even though he’s happy I would basically like to have him with us. But I realize that I don’t get to control that and of course the important part is that it’s good that he’s comfortable now.

We heard from Colton’s worker on Friday, who said that Colton is still trying to work things out and that she wants to set the end of October as a deadline to decide whether or not we’ll be adopting him. She also told us he’d call over the weekend, which he didn’t. We’ve sent back our list of requests: that someone set up a call with him and us (with someone else listening in too if he prefers) and that he consider coming up here, considering it a vacation maybe and not implying any kind of commitment. His judge has said that’s okay, so we want to make sure he’s able to take advantage of knowing what life is really like here. Right now, he’s apparently frozen by indecision. It’s easy to say that this means he shouldn’t be with us because he’d know for sure if it were what he wanted, but I’m not quite ready to make that leap. We’ll see.

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Resting, recovering

September 21, 2010

Surgery today had a hard time getting started but seems to have been very successful. Two polyps have been removed and will be studied to see if there’s anything I can do to prevent another go-round like this. My doctor’s pretty convinced that this will resolve a lot of my problrmx, which would be great.

We talked to Rowan a bit last night, asking whether he’d want us to prioritize adopting him if things didn’t work out with Colton. This would be my preference, while Lee’s would be to try to find another child instead. To his credit, Rowan said he’d have to think about this and would get back to us when he had an answer. While I have a suspicion that the answer will be no, he’d rather live with his RTC friend in his current home than be adopted, I want him to have a voice,

Later, when I’m not all hopped up on pain pills, I’ll write more about my thoughts on coercion in these boys’ decisions and how I don’t know how to avoid it when so much is out of our control.

I did get to ask Rowan if he’d be interested in having us take him out for a meal for his birthday, which overlaps with the time he’s supposed to testify. He was very excited about the idea, so I’ll talk to his worker and see what we can do. He’d previously asked for lobster (well, lobster to eat as well as one as a pet!) and so we were thinking we’d go to a low-key seafood chain where he could have his first lobster tail. I have no idea what go get him for his birthday, but it means we’re coming up on one year of knowing him. It seems longer, somehow, though I know it isn’t. I still wish he lived with us instead of far away.

As I was regaining my senses this afternoon, I was struck with such a strong emotion I almost started crying. I wanted to be a parent, really wanted it. That yearning wasn’t going in any particular direction but it was so strong. I wonder if that was my subconscious being excited the surgery was finally over or what. I am indeed excited about that!

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to be fair to Lee (consumerism, part 1)

September 20, 2010

Since I am in fact talking about our argument over whether “we are a customer” in our adoption and thus should get adequate customer service responses from the social workers we deal with, I want to make sure I’m being fair to Lee’s side of the argument since I’m not particularly sympathetic to it.

First off, Lee isn’t really a metaphor girl. She doesn’t read fiction because she thinks it’s sort of silly to read about a “fake” world. As a child, she never liked cartoons for the same reason. There’s a certain literalism about her view of life that I’m sort of surprised I don’t find annoying, metaphor nut that I am.

Also, although Lee is a professor and I work in the land o’ business, people who know us tend to think of us as belonging in the opposite buckets. Lee spent a long time in the business world before moving into academia, and that’s clearly the lens through which she views her life. Sometimes this is a problem as things don’t translate very clearly or easily, but it’s how she works.

I think this is partly an attachment issue of hers, but once people let her down, she is OVER them (and that’s typically the phrase she’ll use). It doesn’t matter whether or not she told the person what she expected; if they don’t have the courtesy to do XYZ, then she wants nothing to do with them. (Currently all my brothers are in this category because they didn’t respond to my facebook message to them about our match with Colton. She’s boycotting them until they somehow make up for it, though each of them has expressed interest and support in his own way and all three and previously wished us luck. They just don’t do it the same way she does, and she’s not okay with that.)

So where I’m going with all of this is that our local social worker (who still doesn’t have a name, poor thing, so how about Brianne?) had said she wouldn’t be able to be on the call with Colton’s team to talk about the match. We told her we’d be fine without her, that we felt comfortable that we could advocate for ourselves. Then the call was rescheduled and we didn’t hear anything from Brianne. Apparently Lee assumed that meant she’d be on the call; I assumed she wouldn’t but didn’t care either way.

That was a Friday and early in the next week I emailed Brianne to let her know what had gone on during the call. She responded that she was glad to have the update but had been out of the office and unable to dial in. According to Lee, she had a slightly different story that she told our Adopt America Network worker about why she wasn’t there. I personally think they’re saying the same thing but in different words, but Lee felt she was making things up to avoid her responsibilities toward us or something like that. So later in that week, Lee had me send her another email about some things we needed clarified and then when we hadn’t heard back a few hours later, Lee left her a voicemail.

That’s where things get messy, as I thought Lee’s voicemail was probably as hostile as Lee herself had been about things lately. She’d said to me many, many times, “What the hell? I just don’t get it! We’re the customer and she’s supposed to be serving us, so why doesn’t she respond to messages? Why wasn’t she on the call with us if she’s supposed to be advocating for us??” But apparently that’s not what Lee said to Brianne, so while I thought Brianne’s next email to us was apologetic and possibly hurt, I was probably reading too much into that.

Anyway, Lee thinks we’re “the customer” not because she’d extend the metaphor into saying that the child is a commodity. She thinks the children in the system are the ultimate “customers” but that we as prospective parents are “customers” too and our social workers have a responsibility to serve us. I said that if we’re going to stick with a customer metaphor, we’re more like tools that the social workers can use to serve the “customer”/child appropriately. Both Lee and our counselor seemed to think this made no sense, but I was too angry to go much farther with that.

Anyway, this is the background or some of the background of what’s going on in the conversation. If I read a blog where someone was saying that the customer is always right and why wouldn’t her social worker call her back, I’d be really angry. And I was equally angry when Lee said that, but I realized that maybe I’m not being fair to her. She’s just not using a sophisticated enough vocabulary to describe her frustration, instead falling back on jargon that’s familiar to her. (Probably that’s true of the bloggers who say these kinds of things, but I do think that if Lee were engaging people as a blogger and were the kind of person who wanted to blog in the first place, she’d be more mindful of what she was saying and why.) So while I thought what she was saying was wrong and wrong-headed and that going after social workers is not going to be an effective way to work the system, it turned out that I was slightly misjudging her since I hadn’t known what she actually said to Brianne.

And since I’m telling this story in disjointed parts, I might as well say that the resolution is that we spent that weekend really annoyed with each other, but when Brianne came over for our quarterly meeting that Wednesday, Lee was very polite to her and explained about how she’s a person who gets frustrated easily and quickly and how she hoped she hadn’t offended Brianne by calling. Brianne encouraged her to do what she felt she needed to do and said she hadn’t been bothered and that she’d know in the future that Lee prefers phone messages. They talked about when and how much Brianne uses her phone, and I think now Lee feels the issue is resolved and things are fine.

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things that are nagging at me now

September 20, 2010

We still haven’t heard anything from Colton, though we went ahead and sent a package (shirts from Lee’s school for him, chocolates from our town for the whole foster family) this weekend since we’d told him we would even though we’d also told him we wouldn’t contact him. It’s hard to balance things like that! I had a long, intense dream last night about talking to social worker after social worker about him and they kept telling us things we should do better in our lives but also insisting he was right for us and would be ready if we waited. Ugh.

Unrelated to that and anything else I write here, I get my uterus lining scraped out tomorrow. This is no big deal and will just get rid of the tumor/polyp/whatever that’s causing me problems, but I haven’t done well with anaesthesia the other times I’ve had it and I’m not particularly excited about this. I suppose that’s a normal reaction, really.

I went to church alone yesterday since I needed to hook up with some of the people who work on various projects (monthly community meal, weekly tutoring) with me. Lee has had it with this church and wants to find a place where the worshipers are less disruptive. There’s a sweet little girl who’s some sort of relation to some of the girls I tutor (they’re a pack of four, two sisters and two cousins who may also be sisters, but I don’t know how the baby is related to any of them) who’s probably about 18 months old or maybe even 2 years old, old enough that she walks comfortably but doesn’t really talk much though her receptive language is great. She motioned for me to pick her up then curled around me and wouldn’t let me put her down for about an hour. It was a wonderful feeling, and I found myself sort of wistful at bedtime, wishing I still had a little person like that, hoping also that she’s getting what she needs.

We’re taking a class on parenting children who’ve experienced sexual abuse so we can fulfill our educational requirements for the year. Unlike our last class, this is a great group of people and we’re really appreciating it. It’s made Lee wonder whether we should consider straight-up fostering if our match with Colton doesn’t work out. She also wants us to go to a matching event (where older kids who are free for adoption meet parents who’ve gone through the homestudy process) at the River City zoo next month. I’m very skeptical about those events because the potential for creepiness is so, so high, but I said we’d talk about it.

And hey, in a paragraph related to the one that precedes it, I’m not happy about Lee’s plans to just move on if things don’t work out with Colton. I think we have a responsibility to go to Rowan as our next choice. She thinks he only wanted to be adopted because he didn’t like being in his last placement and now that he’s in a placement he likes (though we don’t know how long that will last) he won’t want us anymore. I don’t know where she came up with that, but it’s related to her feeling “over it” because he didn’t want to be adopted initially. She feels that he changes his mind too much and doesn’t really need to live with us to feel connected to us. And, um, this is not how I feel at all! So yeah, we’re going to talk to each other and to him rather than make assumptions about what he might be feeling or wanting, since neither of us know and we don’t agree.

Oh, and I’ve been trying to write a post on this and need to, but I got really angry with Lee for insisting that we were “the customers” in adoption and that as such our social workers needed to be more proactive and customer-focused. She amended this to say that of course the children were the ultimate customers, but that we’re subsidiary ones. I think this is creepy and problematic and wrong, so we argued about it. Then we brought up the argument in counseling and the counselor sided with her and then went on to say that I need to work on not being such a pushover, basically, because it means I’ve internalized self-destructive views of femininity. So yeah, I’m a bad person because I don’t think you should call the social worker a few hours or even a day after you haven’t gotten a response to an email, especially if you’re the one who doesn’t do any work on the adoption stuff anyway! I’m still mad about this and I was very hurt at the time. Maybe once I’m more sensible about it I can say more, but right now I don’t seem to be able to manage.

I feel really crummy, have for the last 10 days or so. Really, I’m glad I’m getting the D&C and it should up my quality of life considerably. I just don’t want to be knocked out with someone rooting around in my womb. But yeah, I’ll focus on how once I start feeling better afterward I should really feel better and not like this floaty, shaky person I’ve been.

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not everything is grim

September 14, 2010

I hope the last post didn’t make it sound like we expect Colton to back out of the adoption, because it does seem likely that he’s just making his peace with what it would mean to be making another move. Lee and I are just both feeling we need to be prepared for whatever happens.

One potential posiitive there is that Colton’s worker (or maybe Colton himself) told the judge at last week’s case update that he was nervous about the situation and the judge ordered basically unlimited visitation because he wants Colton to succeed here but also wants to make sure that Colton is ready for it. So once Colton feels ready (if he does) his state will support him in flying up here for a weekend with us so he can see what it’s like to be here. And he can repeat that process a few times until he feels ready to make a transition.

And contrary to what I guessed in the last post, Lee does not feel finished if things don’t work out. She’s ready to start sending our homestudy out again if things with Colton don’t work out. It’s hard for me to imagine slogging through profile after profile in emails every day again, but I supposr this time I could make Lee do that job, especially if it’s only for a few months.

She’s feeling pessimistic, really thinks an interstate move would be too much for an older child like Colton. I’m not quite on the same page about his case, but I appreciate that she has a lot of empathy for him. I didn’t press her on whether that means she’d want to focus on younger kids — which I think is not a great idea — or look at teens in our state, which I sort of doubt since she’s got such a bad attitude about the process in our state. Anyway, the point is that I’m not talking to her about this yet because I want to keep focusing on and imagining life with Colton. I still think it’s very much a possibility. I still think it could be great, and I think Lee believes that too.

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and of course we worry

September 13, 2010

We haven’t talked to Colton (formerly known as Russ) in a week. The plan was that once Lee and I got back here, we could talk to him as often as he wanted, by email or through facebook or over the phone. I guess that’s exactly what’s happening, because he hasn’t responded at all. On his worker’s advice, we sent him an email Friday saying that we’re okay with that, that he should take his time and we’ll talk to him again whenever he’s ready.

No one seems to know entirely what’s going on with him, but the reality of leaving behind everything he’s known has definitely sunk in. He insists that he still wants to move and still wants to live with us, but he also doesn’t want to have to talk to us about anything until he’s feeling less muddled.

Lee and I are fine with that, but we’re also a little nervous. We really don’t want to manipulate or coerce him. If he decides this really doesn’t feel right and isn’t what he wants, we’re absolutely going to respect that choice. We think he’s fantastic and we’d lovelovelove to have him in our home, but he’s going to have to have a certain amount of buy-in to make things work. So now we’re at the point where we’ve told the people on his team that we care for him and respect him and want him to know that we’ll support, care about, encourage him regardless of where he ends up. We’ve reiterated to him and to his team that we’re really proud and impressed that he’s thinking things through and recognizing what a big change this would be. Honestly, I was afraid he’d wait until he got up here and then have a complete freakout; I’m not sure it’s encouraging that the freakout takes place right now instead, but I do think that’s what’s happening.

His worker thinks there’s nothing for us to worry about, but we’re a bit nervous. Lee was so terribly hurt by Rowan’s statement back at Christmas that he didn’t want us to adopt him. I think she could deal with it better a second time because she’s learned not to take it personally, but I know it would be emotionally hard. And me, well, I’m scared about her response. I’m scared that if Colton says no, he’d rather stay where he is, that she’ll decide this is what was “meant to be” and we’ll be done with adoption. I’m pretty sure she’d do that, really; she’s fed up with waiting.

I mean, I could and would argue her into keeping our home open in case Rowan ever needs to come back, but at this point I don’t think he’s going to want to move, or not for a while. Maybe I’m not being realistic about that. I don’t know whether he’ll go on liking his new placement as much as he seemed to last week, but it’s certainly not a given that he’d want to come back to us temporarily or permanently. And as with Colton, that’s okay with me! I mean, I have a preference in both cases and it’s to parent them, which I do believe is more because I think I could do a good job in those particular cases than just that I want to be a parent in general. I think we could be good for Rowan, though it would take work on all our parts, but the more important part is that I want life to be good for Rowan, wherever he is.

These are weird, hard feelings and I think led to a bit of the friction Lee and I had over the weekend despite spending our weekend apart. We were both blown away by how open Colton was to us, and now it’s a little disconcerting to see him cut us off completely because there’s just nothing we can do. (Well, we talk to his worker and maybe eventually his foster dad, plus I emailed his lawyer today!) But I’m looking over next to me at three photos — Lee with Rowan, Lee with Colton, Colton with me. In each of them, I see a young man who’s smiling comfortably but looking guarded around the eyes. I look at those and I have faith that we’ll keep on being something for those boys, if not mothers than more than just people who’ve made them smile. But still and certainly, maybe mothers. I hope so.

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back home and thinking back

September 8, 2010

Russ has a new blog name and it’s Colton. I’m not entirely sold on it, but I wasn’t on Russ either and it grew on me. Colton is different enough from Rowan, though, that I hope there won’t be too much confusion since I’m assuming the different first letters will couterbalance the two syllables ending in n. Colton also has a new name in reality — he let us know that his preference is to be Colton CurrentLastName followed by the last name of our choice, which is Lee’sLastName-MyLastName. He didn’t seem bothered by the hyphenation and he was very clear on what he wanted for his name. He’s good with his unique first name but wants to drop his middle, which is a variant of his dad’s middle. Because his name is so unique, he sometimes goes by his last name, which is the kind of name that gets used as a first name nowadays, so this version does give him flexibility about what he’ll be called.

Was that a long enough first paragraph? I should also say that I’m featuring a nasty headache this evening, probably courtesy of the storm that messed up our flights home yesterday. At any rate, I’m not thinking as clearly as I could.

We really like Colton, and I even went so far as to tell him we loed him, which we’d promised not to do. But then he friended me on facebook and put up a status update that he loved his new parents and couldn’t wait to move to our state. (And he and his foster family seem to be using “parents” as the term for us, which I kind of like.) I couldn’t very well respond that we loved seeing him or something that didn’t use the word “love,” so what the hell? I went ahead and said that we loved him and had a great time with him this weekend. We did indeed have a great weekend.

Colton talks a lot. He’s in a home where he calls his foster dad Dad and he wanted to make sure that was okay with us, which it definitely is. When we related that anecdote to his foster dad, he sort of teared up at the thought. It was sort of a stretch to get Colton to adjust to a house where they don’t use The F Word (“foster”) and to living with seven or sometimes eight other teen boys, not to mention eight dogs and a cat. And so Colton told us that he wants to consider Rowan a brother, and that was before we’d said anything much about Rowan but that he exists and we have a relationship with him and he’d stayed with us for the weekend. I think this is an offshoot of the conversations he’s been having with the boys in his current home (whom I think of as sort of a pack of puppies themselves, as they were climbing over each other and shoving and teasing and running outside to play the whole time we were there) but seemed to be genuine on his part. We were very careful not to play up anything about Rowan, but it’s potentially a good thing to think that this is one more thing Colton wants to be proactive about in his life.

I’m not sure what Rowan wants, though. I talked to him tonight. We’d called his foster mom this weekend from Colton’s city only to find that he’d been moved to a new home mid-week and she hadn’t heard anything from him. Today his worker emailed me his contact info, so I got to talk to him for a few minutes. He went into this home as a short-term respite placement but has asked to stay. He’s in a small town but the other boy in the house is someone he knows from one of his RTC stays. At this point he thinks it’s going to be a great placement and very good for him. I really hope he’s right. He asked a bit about Colton, but he clearly feels a bit threatened by him too. We didn’t talk about it much, so we will eventually.

And I didn’t get to talk to Colton, though I left a message on his dad’s phone. the plan is to talk every day or so, either through facebook or email or on the phone. At this point he’s still very excited and very positive, but we know he’s a people pleaser and that he’s going to deal with some of his anxieties by feeling like he’s making us happy or satisfied. Eventually he’ll get over that, but we know it’s something we need to be aware of. I think it will be more of a factor once he’s in our home, but for now we’re answering his questions as best we can and working on becoming his parents. That’s something very cool.

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So far so good

September 4, 2010

We just spent the last five hours with Russ and are now at a bar where the music is way too loud, but we paid a cover charge and so we’re toughing it out while I am tacky and type this.

He’s great, seriously. And I overheard him whispering to his puppy that he thinks we’re awesome. We had a great time talking to him and meeting almost all of the eight boys who live in his house. He had great, thoughtful questions about our house rules. He insists he has Lee’s nose and hair (um, yeah, we can definitely see the biracial thing) and my eyes. He was sweet, kind, thoughtful. We’re looking forward to more time with him tomorrow and he’s looking forward to having us as family. Wow.

(And I can see him meshing well with Rowan. Lee said he’d make a wonderful first child. So yeah, we’ll see.)

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father figure (on parenting by metaphor)

September 1, 2010

Lee and I have talked a lot about what made her frustrated in Rowan’s behavior this weekend, Friday especially. I think we’ve come to a good understanding. And then in last night’s meeting, Russ’s foster dad said that Russ sure talks a lot and I laughed inwardly, because that was exactly what set her off before.

When Rowan interacts with Lee, he’s often trying to impress or engage her. He’ll tease her gently about things, carefully gauging her response. He’ll throw out a whole bunch of little factoids — some more reality-based than others — that he thinks she’ll find meaningful. To me, it was pretty obvious that getting her attention and approval was his intent. To her, though, it seemed like a barrage of things she didn’t particularly care about and she didn’t understand why he was going on and on and on.

When we had a chance to talk about it in detail, though, I came up with a metaphor that helped her a lot. I’m not sure why I’m into metaphors to remind why a person acts a certain way (though Rowan and I did revisit the saying-no-to-Cheerios conversation, so it was probably already on my mind) but it seems to let us create a convenient shared shorthand to point out various triggers and behaviors. And so for Rowan’s interactions of this kind with Lee, we’ve come up with, “Hey, Pops!” or some variant thereof.

While this situation isn’t necessarily gendered, the metaphorical way we see it is some ’50sish sitcom where the dad comes home after a long day at work and takes off his suitcoat and then sits down in his easy chair to smoke a pipe/read the paper/have a stiff drink. And then here comes his son to say, “Hey, Pops, listen to what I learned in school today!” or “Hey, pops, you need to check out how I can throw a ball!” or something like that. The dad might sigh as he puts aside what he’s doing, but because this is a hazy idealized sitcom he also knows to check out whatever it is his son wants and say, “Looking good, kiddo. I’m so proud of you!” And then mother calls them all in for some pot roast and the scene fades to pleasant white, right?

Anyhow, that’s what we think is going on with Rowan. His relationship with me is more of a give-and-take, where he puts forth his hypotheses and I might say what I believe but I also say, “Hmm, well, how do you account for x?” and then we both talk about it. With Lee, though, he has some primal need for her approval, whereas maybe with me he had the kind he can take for granted. And unless she recognizes what he’s saying as a push for that affirmation from her, she ends up sort of baffled by it. Once she looks at it through her “Hey, Pops!” framework, though, she is reminded how to respond in a way that acknowledges the underlying push.

When we had lunch in the town where he stays and he was busting out slightly garbled facts about pre-Civil War race relations in her home state, it didn’t immediately occur to her that he’d saved this just for her and was showing off the interest he takes in her life. I’d thought it was obvious and so didn’t bother mentioning it, but I’m much more into analysis than she is and she doesn’t have a problem taking things at face value. Now that we’ve talked, though, she’s feeling terrible that she hasn’t been giving Rowan what he’s been looking for.

I don’t have a metaphor to explain why the important part is understanding, how I had subtly pushed her to compliment him anyway by asking leading questions. I don’t want her to feel bad because we’re both going to have blind spots and make mistakes. I know that and she knows that, but I’m sure it does still hurt every time it happens. So this time I’m trying to be extra kind to her and build her up about all the things she did well while Rowan was here, because Rowan’s not the only one who thrives on praise (and because I know that Lee needs more praise and validation than others do) and she deserves that.

At any rate, when we see Russ this weekend and he starts talking, I know she’s going to think about why he says what he says and not just what his words are. I think that’s a win, even while I don’t really think her lack of patience with Rowan was a loss. We’re getting better step by step and adding to our toolbox. At least now this is one more catchphrase we can use to catch ourselves when we’re not being as attentive as we need to be.

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