Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Time flies when you are...

Time flies when you are knee deep in regression. I can't believe it's been a month since I wrote here. So much and so little has happened. The days blur together as we deal with a whole lot of stick-poking nonsense. Nothing really major but too much minor and the constant resurfacing of issues. I know a part of it is the fear and anxiety the three older kids deal with when I go away.

I went to Orlando at the beginning of the month for the 3rd annual ETAAM gathering of women parenting kids with trauma. I am not ready to write about that experience because I am still savoring it. I did write about it last year (here) and this is some of what I felt then:

"I have just returned from Orlando where I had the most amazing time with almost 70 incredible and courageous women who live this life. Women who get it when we say our kids are different. Women who get it when we share parenting strategies that would get us banned from most "mothers' groups" and even our churches, schools, and parts of our extended families. Women who get it when we express our pain that the people closest to us--our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and even best friends-- think we are crazy and are causing our kids' troubles. Women who get it when we say that come hell or high water we are going to travel hundreds of miles to spend a weekend in houses with a bunch of "strangers" we met on the Internet because we NEED them. Women who rushed into the arms of said strangers in airports, driveways, villas, and exclaimed " I have been waiting for years to hug you!" and who cried at the thought of saying good-bye to these people they had only met 72 hours ago. Women who pinched pennies to make this trip possible, donated money on the internet to make it happen for another mama who was here, and put money in another woman's bra at dinner Sunday night so that someone else can have this kind of experience thousands of miles away this May! It was like coming home to a place where people don't need to know you, don't need to remember your name, don't need to hear all the details of your struggles and your pain, yet they can CRY your pain, SHARE your fears, FINISH your thoughts, LAUGH with you about your mistakes, TELL you you are a good mother when you have heard the opposite so many times you have started to believe it and CELEBRATE your victories with you. How often do we find solidarity like that with a bunch of strangers we would never be in the same room with if we didn't share this thing called trauma and the over-powering love we have for our kids who may not even know how to love us back? Amazing."

All of that was true this year (except there were 90 of us and the "money in the bra" thing didn't happen at dinner this year) but there was so much more this second time around. I am going to be a little selfish and keep it to myself for a while longer because sometimes when I close my eyes I can still feel myself there and it helps me remember that I am not alone and I have 90 inspiring and amazing women standing right there behind me. It helps a whole lot.

The reentry was harder. We didn't have any honeymooning with the older kids. All of them were super-needy and no amount of therapeutic parenting was helping for long. But I have been in such a good space that while I grow weary, we keep plugging along.

Tortuga and Corazon are able to talk about their anxiety and fear. Tortuga wrote in his school journal on the day before I left that he would be looking forward to "nights filled with dreams about mom dying and not coming back." While this is awful for him it speaks volumes for his growing attachment. How awful is it that I can be excited that he is afraid of me dying? Then again there have been so many times in our five year journey that he was wished me dead and graphically detailed the ways he would help that become a reality. Progress is such a strange thing...

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