OK, so yesterday was actually 6 months home for us, but we got home late from St Louis and I just didn't have the energy or brain power to put together my thoughts. 6 months home. Wow! That went fast. Things are improving. Things are better. This weekend made me think about what does it take for things to get better... what have we done? What have we done right? What have we done wrong? What wears us out day after day? What's necessary for a good adjustment? I have identified a few things that seem to be repeating thoughts in my mumbled up, messed up little mind; so I thought I'd share some of those with you.
My number one "behavior" that I have identified for improving adjustment is effort. Sometimes it's exhausting. Sometimes I get so tired of having to try so hard, but I have to remind myself that the things we sometimes get tired of doing are the things that are the most important.
Josh takes a lot of effort in many different ways. In a sense, I feel like I am constantly having to "reel" him in. An example: we went to the Missouri Botanical Garden this weekend, and as usual... it was all of us playing together and enjoying each other... and then Josh, walking around, by himself, not participating, not actively enjoying himself, not being a part of us. We are constantly needing to "reel" him in, pull him back and try to get him to participate in ANYTHING! It would be easier to just let him be. It has been easier. I admit it. There are times when I am so frustrated to see him shuffling around, doing nothing while everyone else is having fun, that I just let him. But I know that even if that is his personality, too much is too much. We continue to try to find a happy medium. How much space is enough space? And how much is just plain rude? How much is unhealthy? We are working towards balance. I personally am working on not being annoyed and irritated when he does shuffle around with his hands in his pockets looking like Forrest Gump, but in all actuality, it takes much less EFFORT to just let him. I have to make myself engage him constantly.
Jameson also requires a lot of effort, but the effort she requires is just plain old mothering. She is constantly underfoot. I know she absolutely craves a mother's touch. She requires mothering on an infant scale. She is always climbing on me, hugging me, touching me... I know that sounds wonderful, but after stepping on her (literally) 10 times while trying to make dinner, it becomes too much. I have to tell her to go play while I'm cooking. I can't even go to the bathroom without her sneaking in on me. In a busy household with 6 busy kids, it (unfortunately) takes a lot of effort to give her the love touches she needs. It never seems to be enough. I know that sounds selfish that she "loves" me too much, and clearly that's not what I'm trying to say. I love to love on her. I worry that she cannot (or will not) go play because she won't leave my side. Is that healthy? I don't think she ever had those needs met as an infant and a toddler, and now we are trying to play catch up. I'm pretty sure she would climb in my clothes if I'd let her. It definitely takes a lot of EFFORT to get her enough physical contact.
Well, this one is a no brainer. I have recently found myself lacking in this department. Josh's pouting and just plain ignoring us continues. Not to mention the fact that he acts as if we don't know anything. Example: We bought him new shoes in his size when he got here. I guess he didn't like them because he keeps wearing Jack's silver indoor soccer shoes. Yes, they are cool, but we couldn't find those when we bought Josh's shoes. The cool shoes are 2 sizes too small for Josh. We keep telling him to stop wearing them. He won't. He complains that his feet hurt all the time, but when we tell him it's because he's wearing the shoes that are too small, he acts like we're crazy! Talk about making us crazy!
Jameson has little mini melt downs about small things. I think she really has some food issues. She is absolutely obsessed with food. She has to know what we're having for lunch, dinner and potentially breakfast the next day... while we're still eating breakfast. When we were in St Louis this weekend, we got to eat at an Ethiopian restaurant. They started bringing the food out one table at a time. As she watched everyone else begin to eat, she absolutely began to freak out. She was in a panic. On the day of the picnic, she freaked out because she didn't know if Kalkidan (her cousin) was going to be there. I could see her begin to melt. She laid on my lap. She wouldn't talk. She began to cry. In the meantime, Kalkidan arrived, but Jameson couldn't hardly get it together long enough to even play with her. She played for a while and then went and laid on a blanket, where she stayed. We had to take her back to the hotel and put her to bed where she continued to cry. It is so hard to remain patient when I see her not coping well. She ended up not getting to spend time with Kalkidan because she was so freaked out about not getting to spend time with Kalkidan.
I'm mentioned this one before. I know that 6 months from now things are going to be better than they are now. Things are better than they were 6 months ago. Time has become a wonderful, wonderful thing... (even though time is wearing on me, along with gravity and the decolorization of my hair)
Once again, no brainer. I feel as though I am training for a marathon. I am constantly reminded of a favorite bible verse of mine: "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize." 1 Corinthians 9:24. I know that we are to continue putting in the effort, even when we think there's nothing left to give. We have to continue to try to be patient, even when we think there's nothing left. We have to continue to wait for adjustment, for transitioning, for settling in, for growing, for melting together. We have to believe in time and the healing power of time.
So 6 months... Are we where I thought we would be? Absolutely. Am I frustrated at times? Sure, but I get frustrated with the kids the stork brought me. Of course I'm going to get frustrated with the ones Lufthansa brought me. Am I tired? Exhausted. Is it worth it ? Absolutely. Do I have the belief that things will continue to improve? God willing.