Monday, March 31, 2014

“Hey I see you”

Today I literally had three goals.
  1. Drink an entire mug of peppermint tea with out yakking it up.
  2. Eat at least half of a baked sweet potato and again confining it to my stomach.
  3. Taking a bath and washing my hair.

    O.K., O.K. Maintaining the short and furry and feathered living beings in my care were up there on the list too.
    So far , half a mug of tea, the potato is baking and I no longer smell like old cheese.

    I have had the flu for around 24 hours. Dry heaving, body aching, sleeping like a drunkard, chills type-evil flu. Thank goodness it hit me Saturday night and at the tail end of Spring break.

    Today after feeding the little’s lunch, one down for a nap, the other in my room watching Frozen,I sat in the tub deciding if I actually had the energy to wash my hair, or if dread locs would be a good look for me.

    My youngest walked in stating she had watched Frozen 7 times, holding up 4 fingers.
    I sat there and used my fingers to manipulate her hands and count what seven looked like with her chubby teensy fingers.
    A loud noise from the movie happened, interest averted and she ran to see what was happening.
    But then she stopped, twirled around and said. “ I fink what we are doing is 'portant, I don't want to miss the moobie, so I am gonna pause it and be right back.”

    Wha'? Did my four year old just validate me? Not want to leave me hanging?
    Saw that the relationship communication we had going was important, and was sensitive to my effort and interest?

    In that moment I felt what I have been working towards and wanting so much for my kids to feel towards me. That I valued them, above all else, that talking with them, being with them is important to me.

    I sometimes suck at this.
    I sometimes get stuck in a texting or Facebook personal messaging abyss. I sometimes am tired of the squeaky needy voices. I sometimes ache for adult interaction. But, I also know this is my season to teach them about their value and worth. For me to validate the importance of who they are, simply because they breathe and are loved.

    When my kids first came home, there was a desperation in needing to be seen, heard, witnessed.

    I think the most devastating part of growing up in an Orphanage, living in neglect, or being a transitioning Foster Child, is the way there is no way to see and validate needs, wants and wishes of the individual. The mass, the basic, the day to day becomes the rhythm of life.

    Behaviors crop up in place of the basic need of being seen. Attention positive or Negative, it doesn’t matter, being seen, having two pairs of eyes, words meant directly for you...that becomes the goal.

    I saw this much in the Orphanage. Kids would either be the helpful, perfect child that adults leaned on and praised, those kids lost any childhood to being liked, and called on by adults.
    Others screamed and fought and did out right naughtiness in the plight of being seen. Both were attempting to fill a vast hole.

    As humans we have holes. Holes that need to be filled. Kids with Trauma and Neglect issues feel and fill those voids more creatively.

    I remember being a somewhat normal kid, resenting my mothers need to be on the phone to her girlfriends. I remember staring at her in the kitchen , phone cord tangled around her, holding her hostage from me. I remember coughing loudly, purposely wrecking my bike and coming in with scratches , so she would see me, talk to me.
    I now as an adult woman get, she also was filling needs, need to be seen, heard and validated in the midst of a difficult marriage. This need is such a human condition.

    I remember when my children first came home from Haiti, they were SO LOUD.
    They banged and broke everything. They did REALLY weird things, like peeing on my clothes, and couch, coloring on walls, and plugging every toilet in the house...and when I finally realized what they were doing was literally screaming “SEE ME!!!”

    So I started saying it to them, full face and eye contact, sometimes holding those hurt,angry sad faces in my hands.

    “Hey, I see you.”
    “Hey, I am right here with you.”
    “Hey, I hear you.”
    “Hey, you, right there, your important.”
    “Hey I can sit right here with you and feel this with you.”

    As I practice this more in my life with my loved ones, and they practice it with me, I see the effects. The effects of, “yes, what I am doing is important to me, but not as important to me as you are, give me a sec to finish this -K-?”

    I have a friend who says this to me often.
    “I am here with you, I hear you, I am sitting with you in this.”

    I never feel more loved and more important than when she says these things to me.
    That, that is how I want my kids to feel about themselves.
    You know the scene in “The Help” with little chubby Miss May Mobley, we all identified with her her imperfections, her desperate need to be told:

    Let us be ambassadors of kindness in our lives.
    To see and be seen is a priceless gift that only keeps giving.


  1. Lindsay Mama to Nine,
    U are doing amazing work with your kiddos!
    May U be blessed with an "INNER PEACE" that equals the outer chaos of our world.
    With Love and Admiration,
    A follower from the Midwest

  2. This is amazing and simple and profound. "I see you." Don't we all want that?