Image courtesy of Victor Habbick / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Being slapped in the face and bitten. Hard. By my child.
Sometimes at the end of the day I just stop for a minute and think to myself… how? How do I meet her with a smile tomorrow morning and a hug that is real? Because I went through hell to bring her home, and she went through hell before she came to me, and if we’ve both been through all that, then shouldn’t there be more grace now?
Grace. And more time. More love. More boundaries. More patience. More firmness. More understanding. More baby steps forward and backwards and sideways. More holding her for 45+ minutes as she flails and hits and tells me I’m horrible and not a real mom and not nice and then when I take a break and sit in the hallway holding her door shut as she slams her bike helmet into it and tries to pry the hinges out (with a comb – good luck kid) and then looks at me so blankly after. What? What did I do? she asks. Really??? Because I’ve sweated buckets and I’ve got teeth marks in my shoulder and a red patch on my face and my heart is just a little bit tired of you telling me that Maman Anna was the nice one.
And then the storm blows over and she forgets, but my shoulders and back and arms carry the exhaustion of it all day. And she spins on the floor and chews her lip and dances naked to Swan Lake in the kitchen with such fierce joy and laughs and smiles and tells me she loves me. And she even wipes the table and sweeps the floor without me asking. And at night, “I love you SO much mommy! SO much!”
And this is what holding it together is like. This is what being a mom is like for me. But I never thought it would be and I’ve had to grow so far outside of myself that I can easily forget all else that was me. So I hold on to love and to hope. And tell my heart to just hang in there, because if hers can be healed, then so can mine.
What is being a foster or adoptive mama like for you? The good. The bad. The Ugly? Tell your story here.