So often I’m consumed with looking in the direction ahead of me with my eyes fixated on the path I intend to take that I neglect to look behind me every once in awhile to see where I came from. There’s a fine line between living in the past and never looking back there again. I think about where I started with my boys. The heartaches. The headaches. The drama. The exhaustion. The failures. Even six years later, I get caught up with how much I still need to accomplish with them. The circumstances they faced in the time before living with our family was beyond their control – but it left them significantly behind their peers and in some ways…a bit broken.
Every once in awhile, I get a glimpse of how far they’ve come. They went from taking things out of complete strangers hands, pockets, and purses in church – to standing respectfully and quietly during a service. They went from eating out of the trash can in my kitchen – to asking for a snack. They went from peeing on their bedroom floor because I asked them to pick up their room – to peeing in the toilet. They transitioned from screaming in the middle of the night because they wanted snuggles – to walking nicely to my bed to ask for snuggles – then to sleeping through the night completely on their own. (This was over a five year process and I can’t even guarantee I won’t be woken tonight and asked for a hug.) They went from writhing in pain as I cradled them in my arms and rocked them at bedtime – to asking to be rocked. (I’m not exaggerating even a little bit on any of these and there are many, many more examples.) We…have…come…a…long…way. BUT…we still have a long way to go.
This was an actual trip to the store. I asked for a picture to be taken so I could remember how I actually pulled off taking all six kids to the store with me on a regular basis.
It’s important for me to look back periodically. This is when I realize that I have, in fact, made some difference. My efforts are not for nothing. It’s just the longest, slowest process ever with no guarantee that everything will be “fixed” in the end.
I’ve been working on “The Book” and it’s helping me work out some things – both for myself, my kids, and my family. Remembering and writing about these experiences from the past have allowed me to work through some painful memories and emotions. For instance, letting go of two of my children. (I see it more as abandoning but that’s a story for the book.) Thinking about how I could have done things differently. Realizing I can’t blame myself for not doing things differently because I didn’t know then what I know now. Realizing my boys have a lot more healing ahead of them instead of wallowing in my own self pity because they didn’t attach to me the way I hoped and dreamed. It’s almost like writing about all these experiences in this book are allowing me to stop running the marathon, exhausted and panting, and just rest for a minute while I watch everyone else run past me. I needed the breather. I needed to refocus…and I’m ready to run again.