Tiki. Many of you close to me know what a struggle he is for me. Those of you not close to me see him for what he truly is: a sweet, kind, loving and happy boy who wants to love life and be a friend to all. See. I know those things about him. I am very aware of Tiki's amazing qualities. He truly is a fantastic boy. But, up close and day to day, he drives me crazy! Part of me thinks he drives me crazy because I want so much for him and part of me knows that he drives me crazy because my expectations of him are set too high and for some reason (no matter how hard I try), I cannot lower those expectations. So, as you can clearly see, Tiki isn't really the problem. I am!
Here is where I am humbled by God's unconditional and forgiving love for me. If God was anything like me, He would be finished. I know that I disappoint Him and miss the mark every single day. And yet, He continues to love and forgive and see the best in me and give me more chances. I, on the other hand, am exasperated and frustrated and overwhelmed by continuously having to give Tiki another chance. Thank you, God, for not being like me!!!
Tiki does so much right. But he does so much wrong. But then again he does so much more right. Why can I only see the wrong he does more often than not? And why, in a moment of hope and goodness when I give Tiki an opportunity to succeed big, does he always seem to fail? This morning is one of those mornings.
He was having a great morning. He did his morning routine and came upstairs. Things were going well. I could see the happy focus in his eyes. I cooked him a new breakfast with this new protein stuff I got him and he was so excited! So, I wanted to give him a couple opportunities to feel like I trusted him--to feel like he was as big as the other kids in terms of responsibilities.
First I had him turn my car on (this was try number two. . .last time he turned my car on to warm it up and he had the air condition blasting instead of the heater in -22 degrees). So, optimistically, I asked him to go warm up my car (with a little reminder to make sure the heat was on). He was super excited to get to do something that is typically Dax's job. Great. When he came back, Gabby and I were working on dinner, so I asked him to finish the lunches I had started. The littles love breakfast burritos for lunch. Andy had already cooked the insides and I asked Tiki to roll them up. He did. And he did a super job. Then he mentioned that there were too many insides for the three tortillias and I told him not to worry about it because I hadn't had breakfast yet and I would eat them once I dropped them off at school. Literally 35 seconds later, I look into the kitchen and he is eating my breakfast. Why?
And then to pour on the frustration, we finally all get out the door and my battery is dead because he didn't turn my car all the way on.
I know. These two things are so minor. I know that. Here is where my ugly comes out. I was so angry!!!
Andy just walked by as I'm typing and crying. I got to verbalize my ugly with him. Beware, I'm about to get more vulnerable and more ugly. . .
Tiki truly does about one thing wrong to every ten things he does right. That's a pretty awesome batting average. As a matter of fact, it is a fantastic batting average for this family (for humanity, I'd dare say). Dax does about four to six things wrong for ever ten things right, for example. Why does Tiki's one thing make me so frustrated and most of the time I just shrug off Dax's four to six?
A great example of this is his room. Almost every morning, his room is the ONLY bedroom clean in the entire house. The other four kids live in their own version of a pig sty. And yet, I'll walk by their rooms, shake my heads, be annoyed for about three tenths of a second and them move on. I'll get to Tiki's room--the cleanest by far and I'll get so uber frustrated that I can't bounce a quarter off of his bed. What? Or if even his bed is perfect, I'll head to the closet to search for a shirt that isn't perfect on the hanger (or something like that). Why do I do that? What is wrong with me? Why do I try to find something wrong? Who does that? I'm a monster!
Andy brought up that it seems a lot like the postpartum I had with Maggie. I stopped and thought and, he's right. Lots of the feelings I'm having towards Tiki feel a lot like that awful postpartum time! Have I not bonded with him? It has been weird bringing him into our home (into my life) as a six year old. His throw up and poop grosses me out because it didn't start out as spit up and cute little diapers. I don't like holding his hand because it is sweaty and clammy; maybe because I never got to hold him and rock him while he cried and sweat. I have other awful postpartum feelings that I cannot even write in a blog. Okay, that is acknowledged. I'm aware of it. So what can I do?
There is a brilliant adoption specialist who says that for every year a child has not been with you, then the mom needs to spend a month (so for me, six months) alone with that child, meeting his every need. She says that the mom needs to go as far as rocking him and feeding him in her lap as if he were an infant. FOR SIX MONTHS!!! I've tried various versions of this. I rocked him every night for a semester last year. He loved it. Most of the time I tolerated it. But how am I supposed to take six months away from work and life and my other children and my husband to do this with him to the extent she says? And in the awful state I'm in, I don't even think it would be a good idea because he would annoy me so much! And that is the only solution I've found in all of my research. Isn't there another way--another way that doesn't require real life to stop. . . a way we can bond while life is happening all around us?
Tiki needs to bond. He seems totally bonded, but when I look up the symptoms of attachment disorder, he has all of them except for the violence and anger (thank God). But it seems like I am the real problem here. I have attachment disorder with him. How do I fix that? Can a mom have attachment disorder?
And then I ask myself what is God trying to teach me. I thought it was that I need to lower my expectations and not run such a tight ship, but I think that is only at surface level. Really, down deep, what is God trying to teach me through this? And why oh why is poor Tiki having to get the brunt of all of my issues as I learn whatever it is I'm supposed to be learning (and I'm apparently a very slow learner)? Poor Tiki. Seriously. He is a better and more loving person than I am by a zillion!
This blog is so all over the place and so random, but I am so confused and frustrated and overwhelmed and lacking hope and angry with myself (for being angry with Tiki). I just needed to get it out. Writing helps me so much. But it isn't giving me the answers and clarity that it usually does.
Even my mom said in Cabo that my she hopes my New Year's Resolution involved the way I act toward Tiki. (Awesome, now not only do I know that I'm disappointed in myself, but I know that my mom is also disappointed in me.) No, it doesn't because it has before and I've continued to fail at it so miserably.
- Why does Tiki's one wrong thing bug me so much in light of his ten great things?
- Why does it even bother me when Tiki tries to be good--he tries to help me so often and even that bugs me?
- Why do I expect beyond perfection from him--so much so that I even look for failures amidst his awesome?
Why am I not bonded to him? What do I need to do for him since he came as a six year old with a personality and habits and baggage that Gabby did not come with? I got to start with Gabby from the beginning and she truly feels like my very own flesh. Tiki still feels adopted--like I'm babysitting someone else's kid sometimes. I know, with my head, that he is my son, I'd take a bullet for him, but so often I don't feel it with my heart. And then again, so often I do or else I wouldn't be crying right now. I'm crying because I do care so deeply for him and I am so frustrated with myself because I suck so bad as showing him that! I have attachment disorder. He's just an awesome kid who continues to love me unconditionally!
And then back to the title of this post. I am so humbled and so thankful that God loves me so unconditionally. I am His adopted daughter and yet I am equal heir to his kingdom just like his Son. I mess up way more often than 1 to 10 and yet he keeps loving and keeps forgiving and keeps training and continues to be patient with me. That is humbling to see the blaring and ugly comparison to the way He loves me versus the way I love my son.
There you have it. Just a tiny glimpse of my ugly. Prayers appreciated daily!