It's Not About Me
It is difficult as a parent to learn that my child's behaviors and whether he is attached or not isn't about me. As a foster parent I went into this world wanting to make a difference in the life of a child who needed a family. I would hazard to say that most mom's go into this thinking that if I love them enough and give them a home and a family and readily available food, they will be thankful and eventually love me for it. I learned that that is not always the case.
I had to come to grips with the fact that regardless of the horrors my child experienced he still longs to be with his "real mom". (his words) Regardless of everything I provide him, he will still say things like "I should've said no when they asked me if I wanted you to adopt me" when he gets angry. He lives in a world where his attachment is fluid. He may never accept me for the parent that I am or want to be. That is simply too hard. He may never connect the fact that I am the one who is providing, he should be appreciative of that. He may never understand that when I do lose my cool, it is directly linked to disrespect or his refusal to follow directions. He will only see that I have lost it with him and that simply adds fuel to his fire.
It is HARD to feel unwanted and unappreciated and STILL show that love and compassion. It is HARD to shove that frustration down over and over and STILL be the mother and the provider that I am called to be. I have to live with the fact that He will likely never see me in the light I would prefer. I have to live with the fact that everyone else gets the perect side of him and I get nothing. It is what it is.
That is the hardest part. It would be different is everyone aw that angry, defiant and unappreciative child. But no, they get the sweet charming and kind child. Why? Because being in a family is HARD. It is easy to maintain that persona for times when they are in public. They aren't angry with the teacher or with the grocery store clerk. They are angry at the parents. Relationships that form in a family are terrifying for these kids. They still think if they connect, if they trust, we will leave like everyone else. They are angry with the fact that their original family unit is lost. I am the one trying to take over in the role that they so desperatly needed to hang on to. I am the one who took that place and thus took on the anger.
It took me years to get to the space where that could not affect my parenting and pervade my thoughts. I had to stop wishing things were different and come to terms that they may never be any different. I still took an oath to love and care for him as my own and I didn't take that oath with stipulations. My love cannot be dependent on his love for me.
That is a harsh one to speak.
My love must be unconditional. I may have to guard my heart, I may have to wrap it in bubble wrap, but I am called to love and take care of him. And that I will.
It's not about me.
- Sheri (who blogs at Ain't That Sherific)