Looking for Things to Say Yes To

Where did I go?  Well, March was filled with a dental emergency (ongoing), financial issues (temporary), adoption issues (presently delayed), attachment disorder (who knows) and somewhere around the time that I found myself parked at a 76 gas station holding off a five year old that was trying to punch me I lost my sense of humor about it all and fell into a deep well of silence. And in the silence I first questioned if I was going to be able to make this trip at all, then, I reassessed what I was going to need for the journey ahead to be successful. More than anything else, I just hit the stop button on everything. I said enough. This is an article sponsored by Gather App

We delayed the adoption for the time being. Everything just seemed too rushed, too over-whelming. Less than a month to get all the documents in order, set up mediation, educate myself about post-adoption agreements, it just seemed like a bad way to finalize something so huge. And the true reality of attachment disorder is huge and it may not just be a band-aid situation that I can make better.  It may be committing to a lifetime with a child who has extra-ordinary special needs. I don’t think, until that moment in the gas station, that I had fully understood the reality of that, or framed it properly for my family.

So, in silence, I began to shift the pieces in the landscape I understood as my life, because the truth of it was, I wasn’t enjoying this…any of it, and at 44 this is supposed to be the time when I get to enjoy my life and my time with my children and to walk away from the absolute exhaustion that I was feeling. What was the point of any of this if it was going to feel every minute like I was dying?

I took a picture of myself. Something I have done maybe only once before, and I was shocked to finally see what I had avoided for the last few years in the mirrors of my house. Haggard. Tired. Exhausted. Gray-skinned, dark-under-eye-circled, falling apart. And oddly, my heart broke at the site of myself. The woman who had struggled to forgive herself for a lifetime of bad circumstances and bad choices on top of them, looked at herself and thought, you didn’t earn this.  You deserve more than this. It’s time.

When I shared this with the Dragon Lady, she only nodded with compassion and said, “Yes, I know. You’ve looked more tired than I’ve ever seen you these last few months. And you’ve always been tired.” And I talked some more and she listened, like she always does. And took my side first, like she always does. And then, knowing all this I did something without guilt or panic that I haven’t done in years. I slept. Not out of exhaustion and not the deep, dark, avoidant sleep of depression either. I slept with the sole intent to rest and be well…and I think I’ll keep doing it.  Certainly until my skin is no longer gray and sallow and until the dark circles under my eyes diminish.

Forgiveness, once it starts, goes a long way back.  In the middle of all this, I heard a song that broke things loose and I became enough of a mother to look back in time to the person I had the hardest time of all forgiving – myself at 13 and 15 and 17. I could look at my own 11 year old daughter and realize that I had only been a child, and that the mother I was now could finally go back and embrace that desperate child and tell her to hold on – that there was nothing to be forgiven for after all. I could whisper my compassion back across the decades and promise that the holding on would be worth it, that there would be moments of wonderful and that I loved her, at last, for who she was and for all that she tried and failed to do. Sometimes songs are wonderful. She is one of the people I shower with love…