Perspective and Expectations

As we’ve travelled this winding road of parenting kids from hard places, I look back and realize my perspective and expectations have drastically changed.

Photo courtesy of fre sonneveld /

Photo courtesy of fre sonneveld /

Once upon a time, I used to think a child screaming “I HATE YOU” to me was unacceptable. Now, I celebrate that he used his words instead of beating me with a snow shovel.

Once upon a time, I used to take affection within a family for granted. Now, a simple shoulder rub causes tearful celebration.

Once upon a time, I aimed to modify behavior. Now, I’m a professional investigator who decodes if the behavior means, “I’m terrified” or “I’m hungry” or “I’m grieving” so I can address the correct issue.

Once upon a time, bodily fluids made me squeamish. Now, I’m ecstatic that the number of things I had to clean bodily fluids off of was only a single digit.

Once upon a time, I dreaded meltdowns in public. Now, I put my child outside to tantrum so the neighbors know I’m not beating her.

Once upon a time, I asked about insurance first. Now, I ask about trauma-informed first.

Once upon a time, I locked up liquor and medicines. Now, I lock up chapstick.

Once upon a time, I yearned to use the bathroom in private. Now, I just hope that my audience is sitting peaceably instead of trying to kill one another.

Once upon a time, I defined success for the day by how much we learned and experienced. Now, success is defined by Dad not having to come home to tag team in a crisis situation.

Once upon a time, I read fiction. Now, I read anything I can get my hands on that can explain why my kid does what he does.

Once upon a time, lonely was when there were no people around. Now, lonely is standing on the playground watching all the “normal” families.

Once upon a time, I never imagine I would be a battered woman. Now, I’m battered, not by a spouse, but by a child.

Once upon a time, I would have been devastated if my child didn’t reciprocate love. Now, I just want her to live in our house without hurting someone.

Once upon a time, I thought my child’s behavior was a reflection of me. Now, I know it’s a reflection of relationship.

Once upon a time, I thought hidden surveillance was to keep strangers out. Now, it’s to keep family members in.

What is your new perspective? What expectations have you had to change?

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