And in My Mind, I Still Need a Place to Go

I’m thinking about the blog and what it’s for now, pushed by a couple of comments. I certainly don’t want it to be just me whining, as sulky and self-centered as my grief has largely been; I don’t want it to be a baby book; certainly I haven’t enough adoption news to fill a blog. Heck, I’ve semi-seriously considering making it mostly a food blog, since I do a lot of cooking and keep making new things that turn out well.

 

I don’t go back and read the early blog, just like I don’t go back and read the emails I sent during the match and then after. I started the blog as a diary, but left it open to viewership because the theoretical possibility that someone might at some point read it made it more likely that I’d keep writing. Just an internal motivation problem. So I mostly feel free to just shoot my mouth off—and, my God, people respond. It is the most peculiar thing. I don’t regret that last post, as I ended up having a pretty good email conversation as a result, but the fact of the matter is that I know less about foster parenting than any foster parent ever and probably approach it from a different angle. Certainly my cousin posted something gracious about what she was accomplishing while the baby girl had a visit with her mother.

 

At heart, for me, this has got to be a place where I say whatever I want to—and if that results in a pretty unflattering picture of me, well, that is unfortunate and ideally will lead to soul-searching and self-improvement in Susie’s house. Certainly the comment pointing out that I whinge on and on about Ruth and Nora’s parenting struck home; I absolutely do, and I feel entitled to do it where they and those they know will never see it, but wouldn’t it be preferable if I wasn’t preoccupied with those things? Cricket and his mama seem to be a pretty bad personality match, and that’s surely harder for all three of them than it is for me.

 

There have been other things I couldn’t talk about recently—my dad had a reoccurrence-of-cancer scare that turned out to be nothing, thank God—and feeling like there’s something I can’t say tends to drive me a bit frantic. I want to say that complaining here lets me get it out and then be genuinely concerned and engaged when Ruth talks to me, and I think that’s partially true; again, however, it would be better if I could just not get angry and frustrated in the first place. It’s not as though we have a relationship with Cricket right now—perhaps I should stop worrying about his day-to-day and just focus on being there in case he ever wants us (and sending holiday cards). I wonder this every so often, and certainly Joey means that I focus mostly on the boy who is here and trying to crack his head open on the fireplace, but I can’t quite step back as far as I imagine.

 

This little identity crisis has been brewing for awhile, and is the main reason why I’ve been posting less. But I suppose now I will probably work on it out loud.

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11 thoughts on “And in My Mind, I Still Need a Place to Go

  1. I think it’s natural to be bothered by parenting decisions/ways of being that are different than what you’d do, even when it’s over “little” things that you know don’t have lasting impact. Goodness, when my mother in law fed my toddlers Butterfingers at bedtime and sent them to bed with unbrushed teeth, I thought my head would explode. If I had had a blog, I can only imagine that my fuming would have made it onto the screen. At the same time, yeah, unbrushed teeth don’t really stack up to drug exposure in utero or whatever other risk factors may lead to removal of a newborn, so I would like to think I’d be even more upset about real risks my foster baby was facing than potential cavities my biokids might get.

    re: your concerns about Cricket and his mom being a bad personality match, if it’s any comfort to you, two of my four kids were perhaps a “challenging fit” and a “very challenging fit” for me during their preschool years and are a very good fit, now. Parents can change in response to a child’s temperament and needs, kids mature, and there can be a lot of adjustments made over time that yield a very different relationship than what might have been predicted during earlier years.

  2. I haven’t read the comments to the last post (I read Mia’s first comment and wanted to comment but had no time) but I wanted to say that it’s perfectly appropriate to feel triggered by someone else’s comment re., adoption even if that adoption is totally different than yours. And venting on blog is appropriate, too. I know you (as well as one can via email) and you are an empathetic, loving person and I trust that empathy and lovingness even if a particular blog post is more vent than empathy, you know? I am sure that you didn’t go trash her on Facebook or try to turn all your mutual connections against her or any of that. You had an honest emotional reaction coming from your unique place and that happens. I know you are not rooting for abused kids to go back to abusive parents and that’s not anywhere in what you said.

    That said, I totally get that sometimes having a place to vent can feel more like it reenforces the sadness/anger/frustration and that sometimes we want to move out of that loop. I can’t say whether or not it’s time for you to do that — I have no opinion on it. I trust you to make the decisions you need to make for your health and well-being whether that is continuing to vent on blog or using the blog to move to a different place or chucking the blog altogether (although you better still be posting places!!!!!!).

    Anyway. My $02.

    (And as you know, I’ve found I need a place for safe spewing with people who get and support me but I emphasize the SAFE part.)

    • I don’t know why I’ve avoided saying it so carefully, but at this point I think I may as well quote what I said to my cousin, since I think people are making some pretty dire guesses (not you, Dawn!): “I hope her mother is able to work her plan and safely parent her daughter.”

      Anywho—thanks, lady.

  3. I love your posts, and I hope you still feel comfortable writing here! Reductive critiques suck and persuade no one. :/ I like that you write about navigating relationships, coping with grief, encountering contrasts in parenting choices and attitudes, and seeking that commitment to openness as a process be honored. I also love reading about Joey, and I’m hoping to hear about the possum soon. I’m so sorry to hear about your dad’s recent cancer scare and so glad the cancer hadn’t come back!

  4. While it is not remotely fair to compare it to whether or not a child is abused, neglected, tortured…I can totally relate to desire as a parent to have the little things in a child’s environment be the way you want it to be. I cringed at the ugly polyester clothing gifted by grandparents and plotted to keep it as far away as possible. They are nice people but very different from me and I am selfish enough to say that I am glad that I get to choose to mostly have things my way. I can only imagine from my distress over minor little crap like ugly picture books (why on earth when there are so many good ones?) how stressful and upsetting it must be to have absolutely no control over the little things of life.

    So, please understand I’m not trying to give you a hard time Susie, I understand wanting the little things your way – as I can barely handle a babysitter, I can’t imagine processing having placed a child. It just may be worth thinking a bit about as you try to go forth in a happy life with Joey (and at times with Cricket) that staying in the space of focusing on Ruth and Nora’s failings may not really get you where you want to be. And, maybe worth asking yourself is it really about Ruth and Nora, or more about the ongoing battle of dealing with the decision to place Cricket for adoption. When you have a husband, a supportive family, and are doing great with Joey, it has to make it more glaring that the reasons you made that choice (like Mr. Book wanting to go to law school, money, lack of faith in yourself) turned out not to be on target. I can’t say I have any advice about how to come to terms with that, but I don’t think staying in the space where you are turning over in your mind again and again the minor stuff Ruth and Nora are doing (or what you are imagining they are thinking or imagining they might say in the future) is going to get you to a more content place. Are there more positive, big picture thoughts about Cricket’s life that might be worth thinking more about or writing about?

    And, add me to the list of people who have a personality mismatch kid. It happens and it can be a challenge, but that’s not always a bad thing. It is hard to judge from the preschool years, I’ve seen some that look like really easy matches turn pretty ugly during adolescence too.

  5. I second all of what Dawn said. I think it’s entirely appropriate for you to vent on this blog and that doesn’t mean you’re “whining” or being inappropriate. I didn’t take your comment about your cousin to be any sort of support for sending kids back to abusive parents but rather concern that anyone would be rooting for separation of parents and children in non-abusive situations.

  6. I’m choosing to reply without reading all the comments above… to just get my words out. I really love your blog and your voice. I wait and save up posts and then read them all together. Partially just because I am in think you write well and from the heart about something many don’t share publicly. It also happens i am a person who’s only two choices for being a mother are adoption and donor eggs. In both cases, the more we learn, the more important it is for any future children I raise to know their biological/first mother. And something I promised myself was that i would try to really hear stories from all sides to try to understand this complex reality. I’ve always thought open adoption was the best thing for kids in non-abusive situations. I have agreed with so much of what you have written, your last post in particularly. But there have been other posts that I have learn and seen things in new ways. I have often thought — wow she is brave for speaking her truth. You are writing with clarity and grace. I think you balance your story with the privacy of those whose lives are deeply woven into yours. I like your food posts too! But I come back because I think in life we all do it better from watching and learning from each other. I find your story and way of telling it really refreshing (heart aching at times). I think the world needs voices from all sides — both to tell the story from that point of view as well as to encourage those of us a bit shy to tell our own stories to do so. I don’t know how many people have been lucky to find your blog. Venting on a bus or at work is one thing… but a blog is your place. For those of us who want to hear your story, we can *choose* to come here to read it. Blogs are wonderful that way. You aren’t forcing your ideas on anyone. It is a place for you to share as much or as little as you want… in your own way. and unlike a diary, perhaps some of those words will help others be a bit more understanding or see the world in a new way. Whatever direction you chose to go, thank you for all your words. They have meant a lot to me

  7. I’ve never felt like you were whiney. Not at all! And I can’t imagine that anyone would have an unflattering picture of you from reading your posts. You are such a winsome writer and your posts just ooze with compassion. Everyone needs a place to vent. For me, I have a “secret” Facebook group with about 15 other moms and that’s all we do! It keeps my “real” Facebook status updates mostly appropriate. Mostly 🙂 I imagine that blogging is important to you in a similar way. Everyone needs a place to share their heart. This is your blog and you should feel the freedom to write about whatever is on you mind. Adoption, parenting, food… By the way, those are all things on my mind too!

    I’m sorry to hear about the scare with your dad. I’m thankful it wasn’t serious, but I know how terrifying it is to go through the tests and waiting with a loved one.

  8. There’s so much here to respond to but I mostly find myself wanting to say: your truth is your power so keep going if it’s helpful. And, I know so many parents whose kids aren’t easy (to them)–almost always, that just means they have to stretch. The love, that’s safe & protected. Glad your dad is okay. I am always thankful for your openness.

  9. I love your blogs – if I thought you were complaining / moaning I wouldn’t read them. I think it’s a blog about you and whatever you feel strongly about that day – sometimes there will be cricket related blogs, sometimes food, sometimes Joey or your family… Please don’t stop writing it!

  10. I’ve been thinking about this post and Amy’s reply for a couple of days, and I want to ask: why does anyone else want to (or feel entitled to) curate your experience?

    From my perspective, this blog exists to capture Susie’s processing at a moment in time and we readers are privileged to see it go by. We can reflect with you, ask about your thinking, and appreciate your honesty, clarity, and perspective. From my perspective, it is wildly inappropriate for any of us to scold someone for having feelings we don’t approve of about a situation that doesn’t touch our lives at all or tell you how (and in what emotional state!) to go forward.

    I hope this stays a safe place for you to use in whatever way you choose.

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