Dear Typical Mom

Dear Typical Mom,

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry that when we lined up for seats on the Extreme Swings at the amusement park today your tween-age daughter got the seat next to my teenage daughter.

Sorry that your girl was too uncomfortable to sit next to my girl. That she was so uncomfortable that she traded seats with you, and very sorry that you let her.

Sorry you missed an amazing teachable moment with your girl.

You have no idea of the opportunity you missed.

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You missed teaching your girl that she should show respect to those who need a little extra loving care. Even if she was too freaked out to sit by my girl you could have, at the very least, modeled it for your girl. You could have talked with Callie, introduced yourself and your daughter – anything to show your girl that you valued my girl.

You missed knowing a girl, if even for a few minutes, that rode the Extreme Swings and then went to the children’s area to ride the children’s swing ride with just as much unabashed enthusiasm.

You missed spending just a few moments with a girl who demonstrates Satchel Paige’s “Dance like nobody’s watching” quote better than anyone. She jammed to a tune while she waited to ride on the Enterprise, a spinning ride that is vomit-worthy, while others backed away from her. I don’t know if it was because they didn’t want to be near her or because she is a brazen, audacious dancer and she never, ever gives the gawkers around her a second thought. She dances without regard to the stares because, well, because it truly is nobody’s business and unlike most of us, she embraces that. I absolutely adore that about her.

I’d say it’s your loss, but it’s my girl’s loss too. Every time she is ignored it is a missed opportunity to practice her social skills.

So, truly, I am so sorry. Sorry that you missed an opportunity to meet a person so uniquely made, a mold breaker to be sure. I know I’m biased, but I’m pretty sure you missed a one in a million opportunity.

Sincerely,

Mom who is proud of her atypical girl

 

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Play Date at the Mall

It’s happened. My 11 yr. old – I don’t like the term tween, because she’s still a kid, maybe when she turns 12 she can be a tween – had a “play date” at the mall with a couple friends.  This is surprising for one very specific reason.  My daughter HATES to shop.  Apparently, spending time with friends trumps her great distaste for all things shopping.  She had earned $15 by doing chores and they were going to have lunch together.  

We had worked it out that we would meet every hour or so and check in.  My kid doesn’t have a phone – not in the family budget – but both the friends had a phone with them.  Two times I ran into my girl she was sitting at a table watching the friends’ bags and purses while they shopped.  She was completely content just hanging out. When Ella left the mall, she had no bags, just an empty wallet in her pocket.  The other girls both had a couple items they had purchased.

When I queried Ella on where her $15 went she said lunch and the arcade.  That seemed about right.  It does, however, blow my mind that she spent $15 with absolutely nothing specifically to show for it.  Her older siblings will, no doubt, once again rail about how much more privilege these younger kids have than they did.  They would be right.  Our pennies couldn’t possibly be pinched any tighter when they were growing up.  We didn’t have a cent to spare just to feed and secondhand clothe those kids.

Walking around the mall for 4 hours – not ready just yet to drop 11 and 12 yr. olds off at a mall by themselves – I had plenty of time to shop.  I went into many stores and even picked up some items, but then put them back realizing I really didn’t need them.  I did end up buying a few $2 and $3 shirts and some Easter clothes, but the best thing I bought was  lunch – for myself – by myself.  It was a lovely hour long lunch with just me and my computer and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  

What I said about my girl having absolutely nothing to show for her $15 was incorrect – she got a fun afternoon filled with memories of hanging with friends.  All too soon having so much free time that you can just hang around a mall for four hours with friends and no time frame will come to an end.  So, yes she got plenty for $15 and it was definitely worth it.

Obsession

Remember the perfume Obsession?  They made it sound so alluring, captivating, enticing and, of course, sexy.  It’s also a synonym for fetish or mania – doesn’t sound so alluring now does it.

Dealing with a child who is totally obsessed and can’t be redirected is exhausting.  Yesterday Callie was in a very obsessive mood. The other kids are more than aware of her over the top one track mindedness too and they know we try to avoid anything that brings it front and center to her mind.  At church they were showing a DVD about a marriage conference and Jacob ran over to me and said, “Why are they showing this it’s just giving Callie ideas!”.  He knew what it would likely lead to and it did.  She spent the rest of the service trying to touch, hold hands or kiss whoever she could capture and generally make completely uncomfortable.

We will not be purchasing any Obsession any time soon around here.  Why purchase something you can get absolutely free?  What I’d like to be able to do is sell it.  Not the perfume, the less good smelling mania version – anyone?  Anyone at all?

Second Best – And I’m Good With That

I love all my children and am so proud to be their mother and can’t imagine my life without them.  I have, however, decided that I am second best and I’m good with that.

In a perfect world, and this world ain’t that, my adopted children would have been born to healthy families who had planned for them, excitedly awaiting their arrival, loved and adored them, were old enough, had enough money and resources and had extended family and a support system that were anxious to help in any way they could.  In a perfect world.

In this perfect world there would be no attachment issues or great loss to be suffered.  All children would share the same biology and family history with their parents.

I know this will be offensive to some adoptive parents.  As adoptive parents we’re used to hearing how “lucky” our kids are to have us.  What a ridiculous notion.  If our kids were “lucky” they wouldn’t have been born into situations or with health conditions that didn’t require a different set of skills then their first parents could provide.  Some of those parents simple knew they couldn’t provide, but in some of our kid’s situations their very lives were in danger because of their first parents.  This is not the norm for birth parents, but it is sometimes true.

I also know many people have grown up in bio families that suffer great pain inflicted physically and emotionally by their parents and there may be kids or adults who wish they’d been adopted. They likely fantasize about perfect adoptive parents just like adopted kids fantasize about their perfect first parents.  Sometimes life is just all messed up.

I had a psychologist once tell me that when my son screamed at me, “You’re not the mom I wanted” I should say something like, “You’re not the boy I expected either”.  Personally, I could never say that – possibly truthful, but it seemed pretty hurtful too.  The reality is, in his own way he’s right.  The mom he wanted at that moment is a mom that, sadly, doesn’t exist.

I know if this world wasn’t so broken this choice wouldn’t have been necessary in the first place.

So, yes in the grand scheme of things I may be second best, but I’m also the best mom they have.  I’m not the best mom period, but the best one they have.