Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Whipping Mom

When I was in fifth Grade my Teacher, Mrs. Heights read us 'The Whipping Boy”by Sid Fleischman I remember lying my head down with my eyes closed letting her words play out like a movie in my mind.  I remember wincing at the injustice I felt, and sooner realized in their way, both boys were victim to their circumstance.
If you have read it or seen the movie, you know the premise is the story of a prince and his whipping boy. The whipping boy was a poor orphan grateful for a job, a full belly and opportunity for education in a trade for being punished for the Princes' wrongdoings and ill behavior. After all there was a law in the land forbidding spanking and punishment of the prince. Hence the need for a Whipping Boy.

Sometimes I feel like that.
The Whipping Mom.
Being punished for pain, abandonment, and loss suffered at the separation between my children and their first mothers. I am so sorry for both of their pain.
Still sometimes baring the brunt of that pain sucks, like totally.
They don't talk about this in the mountains of adoption books I read, or in the heart touching lifetime movies I would ugly cry to while waiting, desperate, empty armed for my little miracles.

Nowhere was I told, you are a Replacement, the pain you feel in the wanting, they might always feel in the loss of their first family.
You may be the target of that pain.

We are coming up on four years of some of my kids acclimation into our family, being in a family, or knowing what one is period.

There have been four Mothers Days, Christmas's and this week, birthdays.

As we have, and many other families will, a test.
Holidays period, more so ones celebrating the Mother, are for some reason sabotaged, destroyed, attacked, and ruined.

For the last four years evidence's of my cell phone being stolen so no calls of good Birthday wishes could be made, urinated mattresses, missing gifts, marathon tantrums, entire stolen cakes, and even once, my wedding ring being tossed in the outside garbage, moments before the garbage men came; all these acts speaking of mourning.

“What are they mourning? Sheesh, they have a HOME, a FAMILY that loves them, and FOOD every single day?
They should be GRATEFUL!”

Do you ever look at an amputee and say to them, “gosh you should just be sooo grateful to be alive.”
No of course not. You would be lessening their pain, loss, and experience.

My kids know something, or someone is missing. To tell them how lucky they are for their loss, how fortunate that they have a replacement to something we all have a biological right to is unfair. Worse, it is placating their pain.

I have thought a lot about this. Why, why is celebrating me so hard?
We are honestly at a point where I know they love me, and trust me, and know I will protect and be there for them no matter what. They can verbalize it and honestly want to be no where then why?

Because, for that one day, my day, I am not her. I am not the original Mommy. On my day, I wonder if they feel the loss of her greater? They stop and wonder deeply about her and mourn. If I can think about it that way, it hurts less when they mess with my day.

I am taking the brunt of their pain, I am her whipping boy.
Considering her loss, how her arms might have ached, even if she physically, mentally, financially, whatever her circumstances prevented her from parenting this child her loss and pain is greater than mine.
And even on the worst of that day, I see the gift in them.

We have significantly changed up my day celebrations, for both me and them.

Gifts are handmade.
Ones sent or given to me by my husband and healthier children are done in private.
My main birthday is spent away that night, usually with friends or in a blissful hotel room; sans tantrums, missing tooth brushes and angry elves. Children that want to have a special night away with me one on one get that. 

 We pick a “Family day” on a Saturday to celebrate, one that my husband can be home for in case the celebrations are too much, and one of the kids need to get away.
We spend much of the day away, dancing, playing, keeping their minds on activities that mildly are my choice.

“Why bother?”; a friend asked this week.
Because someday with practice, these days will bring less pain. Found in their depths, they do love me and want me to have my day, but the mourning sometimes takes over, so we give them and me safe ways to practice.
Practice may not make perfect, but it makes; “slowly less painful”.

This year my “Family Birthday day” was good, not perfect but very good.
I was prepared.
We got up, dressed and headed out for breakfast.
To the child that purposefully turned on the other bath tub, while I was showering , “thanks babe, totally woke me up and got me going today.”
To the child that was “too tired to get dressed and wanted to go back to bed.”
I simply reply “Aw Sweetie, no worries. You can wear your jammies to the restaurant and lay in the booth.”
In my purse was 4 packages of Starburst.
Sweets for the Sweet were given out indefinitely.
We hit a thrift store and instead of Mom getting gifts, all the children were allotted $5 to pick out a new shirt, dress, whatever.
We came home for naps and my sweetheart made me dinner.
The kids gave me hand made cards and sang me songs.

As I thanked them for my day, three children actively pointed out, HOW HARD they tried to hold it together today, to show me that they love me. One child, that has never managed giving me a single gift, wrote me a lovely letter.
One even managed to joke about how last year they had woken up the day before my birthday and eaten my entire cake the night before.
Another admitted seeing my ringing cell phone while I was in the bathroom and decided not to hide it.
And we giggled.


All in all it was beautiful.

Today, less than savory stuff has gone down. Eh, I'll take it, it's gotta leak out somewhere, Right?
We have all been gentle and given space for it.

In truth, I don't know if my skin has gotten thicker and it hurts less, or the licks are less forceful.
I would like to think both.
Either way, they are my gift, and I am the replacement.
And that is something very gently to celebrate, between the licks of course. 

                                                              Happy Birthday to me.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Chronic Pain

Today as I was messaging back and forth with a dear friend. We were commiserating about
Chronic Pain. We both had recently received not-so-great prognosis's.
We both (she much longer) have been living in some intense unchanging, unrelenting pain. 
Suck bags.

I related with her, on how good days, you can celebrate and have gratitude for even the smallest of things. On bad days, the pain weighs you down with depression, grabbing you by the ankles and pulls you into a deep dark hole of despair.

It's sorta like the fire-swamp of fantastic sucki-ness.

You dawn your sweats, ignore showering, combing hair, looking nice, eating healthy and exercising.
You just want to curl up in a ball and sleep for a very long time, and the the insomnia seeps in, and even then sleep evades you. Things start feeling a mess. The pain begins to win.
Fear starts to reign, thoughts of;
“Am I always going to feel this awful?”
“Nothing is good anymore.”
“There is nothing to look forward to because no matter what I am going to hurt.”
“Who would want to waste their time with me, I am no fun.”
“What is the point of trying?”

Now because I am an adult, and a mother, and genuinely a happy active person, I allow me to be gentle with myself, but also don't take much of my own crap for long.
Because I am emotionally pretty dern healthy and deep down know what I need to do to get to a better place, I have to be more aware of my pain cycle.

I nap, and get to bed a decent times. I read powerful motivating things, I pray and meditate.
I talk to and lean on friends and family that cheer and sometimes drag me on.
I  get OUTSIDE and walk very slowly, because even in pain those endorphins kick in and BAM, less pain. I eat fresh, whole food. I write down daily gratitude’s.

I am capable of witnessing my pain cycle and still it is hard for ME to pull MY sh-tuff together.

Today one of my sweeties is circling a drain the yanks my chest open .
Regardless of the boundaries we give her, she can't not control, not self harm, not STOP behaviors that may soon land her getting some intensive help.

We try to process with her natural consequences, what our job is to keep her safe and what part of it is her job. She can not do her part. She wants to, SOBS uncontrollably about how hard she is trying, until she is in the moment...and then contradictions are this swirly dance of nonsensical voodoo she holds onto like a life line.

My husband just looked at me helpless and said, how do we put her out of her misery?

And I choked up a little.

This one specific kid, is in chronic pain.
Trauma is chronic pain to far to many children.

And much like me they get sucked into the Vortex of depression with their pain and frustration.

Their pain is emotional and physical. Their releases seen in self harm and mutilation, self hate and rejection of all things good. They feel unworthy.Their depression witnessed in their lack of self care, hygiene, and food issues.
The myths they tell their selves regardless of the good stuff we try to pour in :
“ I always am going to feel this awful,” ie; I am a bad kid, I will always be bad.
“Nothing is good anymore.” ie: Never has been good, never WILL be good.”
“There is nothing to look forward to because no matter what I am going to hurt.”
“Who would want to waste their time with me, I am no fun.” ie; “My family doesn't really love me, why would they.”
“What is the point of trying?”

What is the point of trying?

I know, I know...

It is so sad that children without tools are capable of this kind of pain, but know what? they are.
For some children Trauma creates this all over chronic pain that inhibits ever.single.thing. they do, believe, think and react.

It is their cycle of pain.
Slowly many break out of the pain, allow coping tools to be introduced, begin to believe the pain can dissipate, or that regardless of the pain, they still can have good days.
We as their compass are there to guide them through their pain, to show them the way. It is our job to
draw them a map, write them directions and take them by the hand and give them tools to climb out of the dark abyss, never minimizing the pain they feel.

Today while icing my back I gave my girl physical reminders that noone but she has to know about.
That she can LOVE her self, have fun, be happy, be kind,have good things, move on and that she is beautiful.

Reminding her even when she is in pain, she has and is capable of doing these things.
Tomorrow will she be back spiraling? Maybe. but maybe not, and so often it is dealing with the symptoms as they come, and her having the confidence to let me try and help alleviate some of that pain.

Pain can blind anyone, but for children it can feel so very hopeless.
To parent children in this kind of pain can feel so very hopeless.
But, together, side by side you can navigate through it slowly, lovingly.
Will the pain ever go away? I can't promise that.
But, there are good days and then more good days possible.

I promise. Cross my heart, and hope to happy, be kind, and enjoy life.
er somthin' close to that.
Now lets go storm that castle.