We had an occupational therapy evaluation of our darling Diva today, and I’m really looking forward to moving forward with supporting her to blossom even more. As the occupational therapist left, she said that she was amazed by us. (She works with both of our kids.) We’ve heard this many times.
(I wonder how could I have ever done anything else? And, too, how could I have ever said no? When they placed these two little souls in my arms, souls without homes, souls without families, souls who had been through a lifetime of pain, how could I have ever said no because it was “too hard”? Everything that’s hard for me, it’s unbearable for him.)
I’ve also heard disbelief when I express gratitude for the joys of the weekend; I’ve heard people remind me of all the pain that exists in the world around us. Oh, trust me, I know about pain. I see the pain of the world every time my child flinches from my touch, because of the hurts he endured as a child. I see the pain of the world in the limitations of my daughter, brought on by the endless cycles of addiction. I see it when my child stuffs himself with food, fearful of where the next meal is coming from. I see it when he cries because the bus is late, and he thinks he has been forgotten again. I see it in the kicking, the punching, the furniture destroying, the cursing… I see it when Diva cries with her whole heart over sounds that I cannot control. I see the pain of the world in my life every. single. day.
Even this weekend, a weekend for giving thanks, there will be pain. Everything about the holidays is overwhelming for Little Man. Family, togetherness, feeling special, being celebrated, feeling grateful, having enough to eat, the sensory explosion. I expect him to become overwhelmed and anxious. I expect him to lash out. I expect for things to be very, very hard at times. I expect for people to not really understand. I cannot focus on that. I cannot. There is so much negative; it could sink me.
I choose to see things differently. I choose to focus on the opportunity that has been created for a family of healing to be born. I am grateful for the belly laughs, even when they are sandwiched between tantrums. I am grateful for the hugs, the kisses, the extra layer of meaning that my life has with these two stomping around in it. I have so many opportunities each day to learn to dance — to dance with the unpredictable, to ride the waves of emotions, to decide on love over fear. I have a chance to repair one small piece of the world, to sew back together the shining threads that we’ve all been given. I don’t know that I would say that their entry into my life is a gift; I never want to portray their pain as something for which I am grateful, even accidentally. I would say that there has been a joining together, a connection, a communion of hearts. We are creating a place for healing to happen; we are dancing with love. That, my friends, is the gift.