quietJuly 30, 2013
I haven’t written here in a long time. Back in December, I basically left twitter after realizing I wasn’t being a particularly great person there. Then in May I went across the country to see some friends and it drove home how much I sort of need friends more than I have them and then I stopped reading all the hundreds of blogs I used to, though I dip back in sometimes. Instead I’ve been trying to just get through some tough things we’ve been getting through around here. I don’t really have much to say about that and I realize it’s stupid to start a post like this, with the explanations and apologies, but I don’t know what to say but that. But.
Mara and Nia are at YMCA camp for the summer, which has been somewhat less than ideal but still mostly fun for them. Mara won’t participate in group games and since the kind of people who grow up to be Y camp counselors were presumably not the 5-year-olds with no interests in group games, this is baffling and alarming to them. I’m with her, so we haven’t pushed hard for her to change her style. She’s finding things she enjoys. Nia, too, is carving out a niche for herself there. She turned 7 this summer and lapped her addition to our home last summer, and I think both of those have really bumped her up in her level of maturity and security. She’s able to get herself under control instead of blowing up when frustrated, and she’s just able to handle everything better. At court this week, our/my willingness to adopt will be entered into the official record, though her parents’ rights won’t be terminated until probably sometime this fall and it will be another few months after that before adoption can happen.
The adoption stuff is still messy. Lee is angry that Nia had family members who wanted to adopt and who were denied (by their home counties, because they’re all out of state, though physically close because we’re in a border town) and I don’t know if it’s because of her own difficulties clicking with Nia or because she herself was adopted within her family and sees the value of that, but she’s angry with the caseworker and lawyer and probably just the world in general that things didn’t work out for Nia to be able to go with people who’ve known her since she was a baby and who love her and want her with them. On the other hand, staying with us means she can see them frequently and in her case, there’s at least one relative where I’d be okay with her doing an overnight every so often, and we’re not there with Mara (mostly for logistical reasons, because Nia’s relatives just aren’t raising as many other kids as Mara’s are.)
Oh, and we’ve gotten to spend a little time with Mara’s siblings, who seem to be thriving in their new kinship home. I need to arrange a time to get all the kids together again before school starts, and it’s amazing to me that we’re already running out of time there! Mara will be in kindergarten and Nia in first grade with her same teacher as last year, but this time testing slightly ahead of starting-first-grade levels rather than being a year or two behind. Again, the security that a year with no moves brings (almost certainly the first in her life, now that I think about it) makes a big difference and she’s excited about knowing the ropes and being able to show Mara how the school works. She’s so serious about her job as Big Sister and the two of them just get sweeter and sweeter together, which amazes me.
And because I probably shouldn’t just hide it between the lines, Lee and I have had a rough time, not because of lack of love but just because it’s been hard to be in the same emotional place at the same time. She has a new job, which is alleviating some stresses and creating others. I think we’re making progress now, but there have definitely been days, weeks when it’s seemed like we’re two single moms who live in the same house and just pass each other periodically, perhaps asking whether there’s extra toilet paper in the upstairs bathroom but perhaps just nodding in vague recognition and moving along. This is not what we want and not where we need to be, and while I am constantly trying to make sure that the girls aren’t feeling negative impacts, things will be better for all of us when things are better for us as a couple. It hasn’t always been clear what the best way around or through might be, but today is a good day and I just keep working and holding onto hope about the changes I want to see. And I’m keeping the kitchen cleaner and sometimes sweeping the floor more than once a day, and if I can do that, I’m sure I can do anything.
I don’t want to end on the down note of all the things I beat myself up about. I’m just trying to throw all the boring updates out here so that maybe I can say something more interesting next time. The girls are doing well. I’m holding up well enough, and excited about some of the things I’m doing this year in my new role as a parent representative on the school’s guiding council and in planning training events for fellow foster parents. I know my time as a foster parent is winding down, though Lee still wants a boy, and I’m trying to figure out how to give up something I’m actually good at and turn it into something worthwhile in another context. We still see Rowan regularly, though he’s thinking about moving back to his last rural town again maybe. Even as I marvel at how Nia has grown in a year into someone so self-possessed yet hilarious, how Mara in almost three years has gone from a loving wordless lump to a tall and graceful storyteller, I think I’m most delighted to see Rowan smiling comfortably, taller than me and not leading an easy life but still doing it on his terms and finding some happiness in it. I’ve been so lucky to get to be a part of all of this.