Wednesday, May 14, 2014
My daughter and I have completely different perceptions of the things around us. One that is blatantly obvious lately is how she interprets any discipline or correction. You see, if we look her in the eye and speak sternly or a little louder than normal, she interprets that as yelling. This is usually followed by her lowering her head, tears flowing and some pretty dramatic responses.
I'll be the first to admit that there have been a couple of times when I did actually yell. (me, not Jeff. He's way too nice for that junk. Truly, he is the nice one in this marriage... in most every way!) I'm not proud of those moments at all. I lost my cool, became the child myself, and pitched a good fit for my child to watch. Really, it's embarassing to think that I would let my kids get the best of me and succomb to something like yelling. Heck, I'll go so far as to say on a few occassions with Bryan, I went past yelling into screaming. (I told you, it wasn't pretty).
But with Ellie, I've tried to be incredibly sensitive to her past and the fact that she is wired differently. Raising my voice to Bryan got his attention, made him aware that I meant what I was saying (even if it was the wrong way to go about it). But for Ellie, it just makes everything worse, and I know this, so I'm careful. (It's the same with joking; she just doesn't understand it at times, and her feelings get hurt very easily.)
And here is where last night comes in. As we were going into Ellie's room to put her to bed, I noticed all of her clothes from her dresser were thrown into the floor. She had been in her room before dinner and was to have put those away. She had even told us that she had already done it. This is certainly not the first time we've dealt with this same issue, and I'll admit that I wanted to yell "What the heck is this mess?".
Honestly, I'm not sure why I reacted the way I did. I just said "The clothes on your floor you are not allowed to wear because you haven't taken care of them. Tomorrow, I'll pick out what you wear to school, and it won't be something you love wearing". I picked up some trash on my way out the door and my daughter said to me words that I won't soon forget:
"Goodnight mommy. Thanks for not yelling at me for my room. I love you".
Y'all... this is huge. I was stern with her, no doubt. She has consequences that she's well aware of for not being honest with us. But there was no sadness or fear in her voice at all.
Ellie has been home for almost 5 years. And last night might be the first night ever that I've witnessed her understand that I was just being a mom. She was secure in knowing that I loved her. She didn't exaggerate my actions out of fear. She didn't shut down completely. She just accepted what I said and moved on.
This is progress, my friends. It's taken a long time to get here... longer than I even realized. But it's progress. Adoption is hard. We've been ridiculously spoiled at how easy our adoption and attachment has been. I know the harsh reality of many friends. And as relatively easy as ours has been, there have still been hard times when it seemed that Ellie may never fully realize that she is 100% ours, with all that encompasses.
I'm the same way, you know. I'm 100% God's girl, yet I often run from him instead of to him. I often misunderstand his words. I often assume he's being mean to me by not giving me my way or treating me different than his other children. But the truth is that he is for me, not against me. He is with me, not abandoning me. He is redeeming me, not disregarding me. He's giving me beauty in exchange for my ashes.
He's doing the same for you. Don't miss that. Don't overlook the progress in your life as you let him do his work.