- Every milestone is worth celebrating. It doesn’t matter how small.
- Perfect is not real.
- Sometimes, my self-care is THE most important thing.
- Take the long view. Big picture is everything.
- This, too, shall pass. It always does.
- Humor goes a long way.
- Be responsible for the energy I bring into a room.
- Be gentle.
- Notice what my face is doing.
- I get to be human. I get to be human. I get to be human.
- Forgive myself.
- Forgive my kid.
- Other kids and families might do things differently not better, not “normal” just different.
- Advocate for my kid with persistence, patience, and love.
- Saying no is really important.
- Saying yes is really important.
- Get on the floor and play.
- I’m not in control of, well…barely anything.
- People act out when they are afraid.
- I act out when I am afraid.
- People stare. Smile back.
- I am a superhero.
- My kid is working as hard as I am.
- Hold onto joy every time it shows up.
- Get help.
A month ago, my best friend called me and we sobbed. We both felt despair that the man running for President of our country admitted to groping women without their consent.
Today, he moved into the White House and 600 groups of women all over the world are marching in protest. My friend and I were determined to take action in some way. But marching with our young daughters (mine with special needs), felt like more than we could take on. My daughter is highly sensitive to crowds, to yelling, to cold, to other people’s emotions. Participating in the Women’s March would likely trigger a trauma response and days of violent fits. But this is a moment in history we don’t want to miss. I want to look back on this time and know for sure that I was intentional and conscious. I want to model a balance between self-care and activism for my little girl.
My friend and I knew that if we got our families together, we could come up with something meaningful to do even if we had to stay home. So, my BFF packed up her little girl and is making her trek to my house in Oakland right this minute. I think we came up with a pretty great plan for our Go Girls!
Read more about it on the Spotlight: Girls blog….
This morning was
The refusal to get dressed
The loud NO!
The “I don’t want to go to school”
Even the need to pack up her toothbrush, her glasses, her breakfast
The curbside drop-off
As she kicked and hollered
Shoes in a bag
Because she refused my help for an hour
My wife’s frustration
As she sat in the back seat
Her own feet bare
As she secured the seat belt again and again
For our angry daughter
After we get-a-way
for 2 days of
Crashing against the headland cliffs
11 hours of sleep
Champagne picnic as the sun sets
So, it was expected
That today would be hard
It was Unexpected, though
When our daughter
Who had refused
for an hour
Choosing to derail
and come undone instead
When this wild-animal-powerful-girl
Was lifted, kissed and placed
Gently on the grass
In front of her school
It was Unexpected
To see the
4th grade Safety Monitor
Taking his duties
He did not bat an eye
As we drove off
And she screamed.
We paused, of course
On the corner
To watch her put on her shoes
And go into school
Whether she wanted to or not
The 4th grade safety monitor
Held his post
And helped my little girl
Find her glasses
Which she had thrown
In the Grass
You know the moment. When your child’s eyes glaze over and they gear themselves up to throw an epic fit in Target…in the grocery store…at a friend’s house…on an airplane…and there you are: heat rising up the back of your neck, cheeks flushed and mind racing as all eyes turn on you. What’s she going to do? The adults nearby want to know. What’s Mommy gonna do? Your kid wants to know. What am I going to do? You want to know too.
These moments are the stuff mothering is made of. What happens next? For me, my thoughts turn quickly into action, so I’ve learned to pay attention to what I tell myself during tense parenting moments, especially when I’m in public.
Wanna know the things I say to myself when I’m embarrassed about my mothering in public? Check out the post I wrote for Rookie Moms this week! So honored I got to be a guest writer on this awesome site and give an adoptive mama’s perspective.
It’s the first day in 14 without my
and my nervous system is
in a kelly green vintage shrug
My coat of armor as I
Enjoy the quiet absence
of Her questions
and the Luxury
of being my own
10 of these 14 days felt so wonderfully
with my little girl
but then I started
that is my
Parenting can be so
If we choke on our
and forget our own
Here’s to me
my right to
Silence and Space
And won’t it feel good
to miss her
I cannot wait
to miss her
Finding Dory was aDORable, am I right? Who doesn’t love Ellen and remember Finding Nemo like it was yesterday? Nothing better than packing up your family, getting your popcorn buttered and settling in for a sweet afternoon at the movies. Unless you are an adoptive parent. If you adopted your child, you do your research before going to any movie. You know that for some reason, every other kids movie out there includes protagonists who are orphans, in foster care, have dead parents, mean parents, tragic separation from siblings they love or in the case of Finding Dory, spend the entire movie in a desperate search for their birth parents. Sigh.
I get it. The worst nightmare in the psyche of any child is to be deeply alone in the world and abandoned by their parents. I’m not a therapist, but I imagine that for kids who are securely attached, seeing their worst fears play out on the big screen feels good because it externalizes the nightmares and ties them up with a happy ending. Then, the typical kids get to hug the parents who birthed them and feel safe, secure and aware of how loved they are.
But what if the nightmare of losing your family, being abandoned or mistreated actually happened to you? Seeing it played out would not feel good. It would be scary, retraumatizing or humiliating. They would be anxious on the way to any movie and have trouble sleeping after, even though they begged to go see it.
As a parent, I have to weigh the pros and cons before seeing any flick. I heard that Finding Dory could kick up lots of grief but that it wasn’t too scary. I also knew that all my daughter’s friends at camp were seeing it and talking about it. Having things to connect with peers about is a definite pro when it comes to my quirky girl. Plus, her big cousin was in town from Texas and wanted to go. We didn’t want to deny them the sweet memory of seeing this movie together. So…we went.
We ate a big dinner before and didn’t get candy. Instead, we brought tiny treasures wrapped in tissue paper. When our daughter got anxious during the movie, she turned her eyes to her lap where she could unwrap a little something to focus on instead. While Dori was having flashbacks about the major loss in her childhood, my daughter opened and found a tiny shell. While Dori was longing for her Mommy & Daddy, my little girl found a tiny square of clay to squish into shapes. When she got bored with a treasure, she’d put it in Mama Lynn’s purse and watch the movie awhile. Then, she opened another. Bringing sensory tools to the movies was not something we’d tried before. After Inside Out, we spent 20 extra minutes in the theater holding her while she sobbed. The Good Dinosaur sent her into so many tears, I had to bring her home and rock her like a baby until she calmed down.
But I’m glad we tried Finding Dory before giving up on going to movies all together. With tools to manage her triggers, our daughter got to see a girl lead character take center stage in her own life. Dory and lots of the animals in this film have a vulnerability that makes them different. Dory’s “short term memory loss” and distractibility were a wonderful mirror of my daughter’s special needs. Dory is loveable and adored. Just like my little girl. Dory is a leader. She has courage. She overcomes her biggest challenges. I want my daughter to get to see examples like these of girls in media.
After the movie, my daughter’s review was “ I liked it Mommy. But some parts were sad.” OMG she used a feeling word! Success.
Go see Dory. Pack treasures and tissues. Let me know how it goes.