Tag Archives: family

Depressive Episode

9 Jun

I had family in town this past weekend, and I seem to always lose a bit of self-control whenever a visit is over.  I love getting to see my family enjoy my kids and play with them and my kids put on a show for everyone.  It’s overwhelming but delightful to see my kids love other people.

But, like for so many others, family for me is painful, too.  Family are the people who don’t understand me and might not ever try.  Family are the people I put on a mask for.  The ones I turn much more introverted for.  Become less opinionated around.  Speak up for myself less.  I shrink any part of me that might become offensive because I’m not sure anyone’s love is unconditional.

The other day, I read this confession from an adult adoptee and realized I related to so, so much of what she wrote.  Obviously, my life has not been the same as an adoptee; please don’t think I’m saying that.  But my life isn’t like yours with both biological parents around, either.  I often feel like I’m in some weird other place, and it’s hard to find voices saying familiar things.  Adoption is the closest scenario to mine, I guess, and so I’m finding a lot in common when reading the stories of adoptees.

I also wanted to read more about ambiguous grief that I’d heard mentioned in talk about adoption.  So, I did what any Millennial would do:  I Googled it.  And this is what I read.  And, all of a sudden, I felt like I could forgive myself.  All this jumble of feelings; all these times of feeling sad and confused around holidays and, as I’ve gotten older, my birthday; all the faulty coping I’ve engineered for myself— all of this has a reason behind it.  I mean, I guess I knew that; but I’ve never been exposed to the idea of ambiguous grief before very recently, and the ability to name something is so very powerful.

Because, even though I know that I’m not the only one to feel sad at Christmas because I don’t know my bio dad/my family of origin doesn’t really know me/whatever else is in the mix , it can feel that way.  It can feel like an impossible hurdle to overcome, this being different thing.  But I’m not so different; I fall into a whole lot of categories.  And while the teenaged rebel in me still hopes thinks I am undefinable, I feel a lot calmer and merciful with myself when I figure out that I’m not so outside these distinct, knowable boxes.

I’ve been reading a lot about “peaceful/gentle/positive parenting” stuff (see herehere, or here for what I’ve been reading), and something that gets brought up frequently is knowing your own stuff– your deep wounds, your painful associations, your traumas and triggers and tipping points– so that you can parent well.  And I feel like I’m digging deep into myself and dragging out all kinds of sad, mangled feelings; things that I’d rather not think about or deal with.  But my daughter reminds me of myself as a child, and I have to let things go so I don’t go on being jealous of her.  Of a 4-almost-5-year-old.  Yes, my heart is an ugly place at times; but I am more than the sum of my past hurts, and I can be different.  I can try to love myself so that I can love my kids better than how I was treated.

 

Here’s to breaking the cycle.

To making a family where we can know each other even if we are not alike.

To loving fully and totally and painfully.

To having a vulnerable heart even though it can be more easily bruised.

To being who I am even though it’s scary.

Root-y Toot Toot

13 Mar

I like to think I’m a lot calmer than I used to be.   Or that one day it would be possible to feel like I was less intense, emotional, or what have you.  In my mind, that is when I’ll finally feel real.  You know, like the Velveteen Rabbit or something.  But I guess he was first real because somebody loved him, so maybe I’m real now anyway?

And what exactly do I think I am now?  I think sometimes things are hard for me.  I think sometimes I get lost in the forest and can’t see the trees.  I think I am bombarded with touch that I don’t really want but am forced to accept and indulge because the little baby hands don’t understand that mommy wants to take a break from all the babies.  I think I’m just a person and sometimes stuff that’s seemingly easy for most is trying for me but that’s okay ‘cuz people are different.

Part of why I don’t feel real is that I don’t totally understand where I come from.  Like the whole “I don’t know my biological father” thing.  That comes out a lot more the older I get for some reason.  It is a wiggling worm inside of me that I try to squash with distractions and don’t cares and whatever else I can scrounge up.  But it never goes away.  Ethnicity and race are still two huge questions in my mind.  If I look white, am culturally white, and feel white– what do I do with the alleged fact that my bio dad is Hispanic (via Mexico, to be super specific)?  Does that hold any meaning in my life?  Does it do anything for my kids or, hell, their kids or their kids’ kids?

I feel rootless.  Or, more accurately, only about half-rooted.  In my mind’s eye I see a tree clinging to a cliff’s gravelly edge, teetering and swaying in the wind.  That’s me.  I don’t really know what my cliff is… but I’m probably a Weeping Willow, just FYI.  But, to mix my metaphor some, now I have this fruit, and it’s dangerous for it to be attached to me but it is.  Now I’m not the only one trying to hang on to loose ground, but my apples and pears (which are obviously the fruit of a Weeping Willows) are too.

Maybe it’s just hard to feel real when you only feel half-attached to your life or who you are in this really existential, weird sense.  But I feel this need to figure it out; for myself, but now ever more so for my kids.  What kind of confusing legacy to I have to pass down to them?

Day 130

9 May

Joe’s not feeling well today, and it always brings out the very worst in me when he’s sick. I think I take him for granted so much and don’t value him for just being a loving, beautiful person. And he is. He’s so caring, intelligent, funny, helpful, loving.

Joe regularly takes on a lot of the responsibility around the house with the kids as well as house work. He will take care of me and the babies when I’m not feeling well. He does the dishes without any complaint as well as gets up with the both kids EVERY morning. He shows me he loves me by bringing me food home from his work. He makes me omelets late at night. He rubs lotion on my legs and feet even though I always kick him because I’m obscenely ticklish. He goes along with my kooky food ideology. He still loves me even though I’ve become some kind of Christian Mystic. He plays with my hair when I lie down sometimes.

He loves our kids so much too. He takes them on walks and runs with Zoe. He tickles their bellies and wipes their noses. He changes many poopy diapers and wipes many butts. He takes them to the park. He reads to them. He prays over them and hopes for their futures.

He is a great man, and I’m sorry for getting mad at him with he’s sick.

Day 129

8 May

So today I’ve decided to be incredibly personal and talk about trying to lose weight.  Because I am and because, I don’t know, it’s all I have on my mind to share right now.

Anyway, it’s hard.  And I don’t seem to be very good at it.  And I get discouraged eas-i-ly.  Gain 4 pounds that’s probably water?  Eat a tub of ice cream.  Eat fast food and feel bad about it?  Eat cookie dough.  Have a crappy workout and don’t feel very accomplished?  French fries.  So, as you can see, my emotional eating really gets in the way of being healthy (which, in this case, is just an euphemism for losing weight).

And as much as I’d like to say I’m motivated by health and wellness, seriously I just am over being a little butterball turkey.  Blah blah blah looks don’t matter blah blah blah.  Whatever.  I get preoccupied with weight pretty easily too because I come from a long line of weight-fixaters.  My grandma, who’ll be 76 this year, still constantly talks about her (and my grandpa’s, and my cousins’, and my mom’s, and my) weight.  “I lost 15 pounds, but gained it back… Maybe I’ll lose weight soon… blah blah blah.”  Which makes me focus on trying to not think too much about my weight or make that an indicator of who I am or how successful I am, but I simply don’t like being a bratwurst.  So weight-loss here I go.

I’ll hopefully never talk about it again as I don’t want anyone to think of “weight” and “Adella” in the same sentence, but it is something that’s going on.  So whatever.

Day 105

14 Apr

After writing out Lazarus’ birth story yesterday and chatting with a couple different people about it today, I started to think about how my kids will know exactly where they came from and when and who was involved and everyone knew when they arrived. It made me realize how most people take for granted knowing their birth story or who was involved in their making.

It is truly strange that, at one point, my cousins knew more about where I came from than I did. That what was a very hazy idea to me could be so concrete to others who weren’t at all involved. It’s sad, really. And weird. And kind of painful. Or it was at some point, anyway.

Like I know what city I was born in, and I could tell you if you asked. But I don’t know the name of the hospital. And no one in my family was there or came to visit. At least not that I know of. Isn’t this something you usually know? I mean, the name of the hospital you were born in? Maybe I’m just imagining things… and I could probably just look at my birth certificate (which is just a photocopy, BTW. An official one, but still.).

I don’t know. I’m probably not expressing what I really intended to. It just struck me at some point today again that there’s this haziness to my origins, and I hate it. I think it’s part of why it was so easy to get married and change my name and start my own family; I guess I didn’t feel like I had much of a name of my own to hold onto– nothing solid, only a shifting idea of something.

Day 92

1 Apr

And round 2 of Easter crafts to try to start traditions in my house:

I got the template and info for this Holy Week banner from this blog.  They have everything you need to be able to make your own (or you can buy one from their etsy shop if that’s more your thing!).

Unfortunately (as many of my stories start), I didn’t get to start this with Zoe today, nor do I have a picture of it hanging up yet as it is not hanging up yet!  (Thankfully, Jesus died even for me.)  But here are a couple of pictures:

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Uh, yes, it is sideways. 

 

That’s the backdrop.  You stick all of the little cut out images on there and go through a verse with each cut-out.

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That little white mess at the bottom right would be me trying to figure out how to make the wrapped body for putting in the tomb on Good Friday.

The templates may not be necessary for you if you’re, say, crafty or artistic at all.  I used them but added my own little touches.  I’m a rebel, what can I say?

I have hopes that this will be a lot more on Z’s level.  But maybe she’s just a heathen devil child.  Who can really say?

I have one more Easter craft to share (again, of course, not of my own invention; just me trying to do junk), but I haven’t made it yet.  🙂  Maybe tomorrow or Tuesday?

Day 89

29 Mar

I don’t remember a lot of “tradition” type things from childhood. I think maybe I didn’t get as many because we didn’t always travel to my grandparents’ for holidays, or have standing plans with another family nearby, or anything like that.  Actually, most holidays always feel a little sad to me for this reason.  

So, now, here I am with my little family struggling to figure out how to care about traditions and, even more so, panicking a little at the thought of starting some for my children.  

I’m attempting a couple of Easter things to do with the kids.  I’ll post pictures of them tomorrow.  I’m not completely sold on what my kids will get out of it (or, more appropriately, what Zoe will get, as Laz is still a ways away from even totally understanding “no”), but I guess this is how traditions start, right?

Here’s to trying things that are confusing and not within my own history!