With Mak making three now, our last few weekends have been spent getting her acclimated to our parents (Granny & Grandpaw and Nana & Pop), her aunt Jess, our home, our church, and our overall way of life. In addition. we’ve been working on her room, which she chose to paint bubblegum pink. Like a girl after her Mama’s heart.
We’ve worked hard on the weekends to move her from our guest bedroom (still girly from leftover dorm days) to her new room, complete with canopy, pink walls, green glitter furniture, and butterflies on the walls. We are learning her little nuances, quirks, and experiences. She likes olives but hates melted cheese, specially shredded cheese. She loves to dig up worms in the dirt. She’s fearless on a horse, At first, she didn’t like to be held when she got hurt. Case in point, she was riding her bike (which Santa will be replacing… her bike is a worn-out looking trike for a kid much younger than she is now) and she fell off, skinning her knee and elbow. As Jake scooped her into his arms to console her, she screamed, put me down. Once he explained that she wasn’t in trouble, she let sought our comfort. Things like this… figuring her out. It’s like a mystery. I guess I should have prefaced all this with a little info on her background. Mak’s biological mom loves her, and I’m sure always will, but has made some bad decisions and got involved in some sorred behaviors that imped her ability to be the mother that Mak needs. Her father has only seen her a handful of times and has made similar choices as her mother. Since she was an infant, she has been under the guardianship of her great-grandparents, mainly her great-grandfather. And I want it to be clear how much we admire and appreciate her grandfather. He has done is best with limited abilities. Despite his own setbacks, he has kept her busy and socialized in community programs, churches, and other activities. His health is what prevents him from caring for her. He isn’t able to provide the structure and stability, procedures and discipline she needs. He loves her dearly and understood that to remain in her life and keep her from becoming another child in the system, he needed to seek a family for her, and we fully plan on letting him be what he was intended to be… a grandparent. As a result of her parents’ inconsistency in her life and her grandfather’s inabilities to parent, her adjustment to rules has been a struggle. She has learned to “be nice” in the company of strangers, but now that the novelty of “us” has worn off, she’s testing limits. A time out brings tears and crying for her grandfather, and it’s hard for us to distinguish what is I’m-struggling-to-deal-with-all-this crying and what is I-don’t-like-being-in-time out-and-want-attention crying. Balancing effective discipline while still nurturing her emotionally is just mentally exhausting.
I’ve recently read Kelly & John Rosetti’s book Wait No More (from Focus on the Family) and Kelly’s words have reverberated in my head. Loving our daughter will not change, no matter how difficult the whole scenario is. It’s opened my eyes to how deep our mission is, and as I see parallels in our lives with theirs, I find myself pulled (like Kelly) in the path of advocacy. One thing is sure, the rest of my life will be spent advocating for her.