Monday, June 17, 2013

Long Time, No Write...

So it's been months since I wrote last. I'm still here, alive and all. I've just had some things to work through.
Sometimes my head gets so full that writing doesn't seem enough, I just have to DO.

Since my birthday at the beginning of March, I've been trying to work in a different direction. I haven't exactly told people around me, "Hey, I'm trying this new thing. What do you think?" but I think the family has noticed. A lot of the changes are subtle. Things only I would recognize as a change. Things like making myself get in the shower instead of sitting around in the same pj's I wore last night and have been wearing all day. Wearing shoes - even flip flops - all day because for some reason being barefoot makes me feel lazy. (Thank you FLYLady!) Walking through the house and picking up at least one thing that is out of place every single time. Fighting back the voices in my head that tell me "It's not making a difference. Why bother?"

Over the last few weeks, especially, I've been working on small crafting projects, like beaded lanyards and needle cases. These little things take a few hours to make and at the end, I have a finished piece that is actually useful. The result has been amazing. Not that I believe my work is awe-inspiring, but the affect of creating something specifically for someone else has made a very big difference in my mind. Being not just productive, but constructive has been a kind of therapy for me. In the tradition I was taught, when you make something for someone else, more goes into it than just the pieces you are putting together. It is proper to think good thoughts about the person receiving it while you are making it so the person who receives it will have good thoughts whenever they see it, use it, or wear it. Thinking good thoughts is always a good thing.

Also, I've been working very hard to connect more with the people in the house - listen when they talk. Speak to them directly. Ask them open ended questions. Be patient. I'll be quite honest when I say this has been a very big challenge for me. My three daughters are awesome, and even as we enter the teenage and pre-teen years, they are constantly astounding me with their depth of kindness, grace, and beauty. I feel the same way about my niece and nephew who have been here for almost a year. The truth is, I love them every bit as much as I love my kids if for no other reason than because they are family. But they are really amazing kids other than that. My problem is I just don't know how to tell them that.

They aren't like my girls. At all. Where Little Heart, Tiny Dancer, and Evil Genius are talkative and boisterous, Monster and The Boy are introverted and rather anti-social. They don't like being in public, especially noisy or crowded places. My kids love going out to restaurants, festivals, parades, picnics, and of course, pow wows. The other two always stay home, by their own choice. My girls have been busy this summer already with parties, cheer camp, dance class, and just hanging out with friends. Their cousins don't have a list of friends that they hang out with. They never leave their rooms unless specifically requested and I couldn't tell you any of the things they are interested in unless I ask direct questions about what they are doing at that very moment. My girls are always all over the house, doing something here, doing something different over there (leaving a trail of mess as they go) and they are free about letting me know whatever they are thinking about. The hardest part about having their cousins here has been trying to understand these two so that DH and I know what they need. They don't communicate the way my kids do and I don't know how to communicate with them in their way.

The hardest thing for me personally, though, is that the cousins are not physically demonstrative and hugging them always makes me feel like they feel awkward about it. That part is truly heart breaking to me. I'm a hugger, I guess. I hug my kids, my family, and my friends freely. I like to snuggle on the couch. I love that my girls want to come up and give me lingering hugs where they just lean into me for lengthy minutes until they have their fix and are happy to trip on off to whatever they were doing before. How on earth can you show someone how much you  love them if you can't give them a big squeezy hug? It literally brings tears to my eyes to think about how much I love those two kids and how hopeless I am at showing it.

It's that kind of hopelessness that has been standing in the way of me writing for other people to read lately. I am not a Super Woman, but I have always tried to be the best Mom I can be. With Monster and The Boy, I may not be THEIR mother, but I am A mother and I am in charge of them right now. Why shouldn't I give them everything I would give my daughters. The fact that I have not figured out how, is making me just plain depressed. These two kids are the polar opposites of my three girls because they have been raised that way and I just don't know how to bridge that gap.

Deep in my heart I KNOW that every child - every person - deserves to be loved, and to be shown that love. I feel that I am not giving these precious kids everything they need and that makes me feel... I guess inadequate. I feel like a failure because I don't have a way to reach out to these two. I haven't wanted to write because I usually try to touch on a little about everyone in the family but I don't have much to say about them because we don't interact the same way. I would really feel awful to keep writing all this awesome stuff about my daughters and then just sort of leave Monster and The Boy out of it.

 At this point, I know I need to stop thinking about ME and what I want for them. I guess I have to decipher what they need and want even if it is completely foreign to me. I'm not sure I could try any harder to figure them out, but I will still give it a shot. There has to be something I haven't tried. Some angle I haven't seen this from. Who knows? Maybe I should stop trying?

Nope. Not that. I refuse to allow the time those two spend here to be devoid of love and affection. I will never stop trying to show how I feel. I'll just need to figure out a different way to do it.



  1. Hug 'em anyway...just don't linger...until they become used to it.

  2. I think you misunderstand something: they weren't "raised" that way. That's just how they are. There's nothing wrong with them that their emotional style doesn't involve a lot of physical touching. I adjusted to THEM wanting a different style of affection, I didn't train them to want that.

    And "hugging them anyway" violates a personal boundary and creates a loss of trust. It's not an enormous problem when it happens and it's pretty easy to bounce back from, but the need you're trying to answer is not "more of the same, only different".

    Look up the Five Languages of Love, and you'll probably get a better picture. Trying to see it from their place and understanding (again) that they are in the spectrum (which is frustratingly different for each person) will help, too.