Can I be honest, no really honest…do you mind? Here goes then, sometimes my life truly scares me. Not the living the moment bit, the here and now, although that can be quit intense at times. No, it’s the future, what will become of us all? That bit.
In the past couple of years thoughts of the future have become a grotesque and unstomachable monster that lies in wait beneath my bed. In the dead of night this monster plagues me, rolls me twitching and squirming in my sheets and leaves me feeling broken, sobbing and afraid. I’ve said it before, I think, if not I’ve definitely thought it many times, I have become very disillusioned with parenting my adopted kids.
Mr H and I have reached the lowest of points this year, possibly when we were warming our backs with the Portuguese sunshine; there we were, on our knees, scrambling fervently in the dirt desperate to find the answers. The paradox of being on holiday in the most beautiful sunshine bathed surroundings, whilst suffering the greatest crisis of confidence in our ability to parent, has definitely created unique holiday memories, it’s not one we’ll ever forget. The questions for which we require answers are many but just for starters, how to stop the spitting, biting, kicking, swearing, destructive and defiant and increasingly challenging behaviour that has been sewn into the fabric of our family.
Yes we were told that it would be tough and at times heartbreaking, and yes we assured everyone that we could definitely do this but, seven years in I had foolishly hoped things would be getting easier, not harder. That’s not to say that it was ever easy, but the angry outburst of a three year old is much easier to contain and far less offensive and frightening than that of a ten year old. And fatigue has also set in, it’s exhausting managing the emotional stability of two children living with early life trauma and I had reached a place where I couldn’t find the energy to get up and do it all again.
In this tired and disheartened state of mind it is little wonder that the future has posed such a threat. How would it be possible to carry on doing this? How would we ever manage this behaviour as the boys grew? What was waiting around the corner, stealing, drugs, running away from home, all became very realistic fears for me. I recently sported a painful and colourful bruise on my forearm; I had slipped awkwardly as I rushed to remove valuable possessions from the pathway of an aggressive boy with destruction in mind. I’ve also had to inform school when my son had marks on his face; my nails caught him as I tried to remove his glasses, before he damaged them or smashed them into his face whilst head butting the wall. Post these events my mind swirls manically, like a tornado. Where is this going? What will happen next? Who will be hurt and how will we ever manage to repair such painful experiences?
So down on our knees no further lower to go, we have asked for help. I’m not going to detail it all now but the help is coming in a number of guises. I think the most important aspect of the help is the help I’m getting for myself. Worries and anxieties about our lives and the future has drawn the heavy blanket of depression over me again and realistically I’ve been living under this blanket all of this year. I’ve started seeing a therapist and gradually the building blocks of my mental health are being restacked. I am learning to take better care of myself and to be kinder to myself, sounds simple but actually I’ve been pretty useless at self preservation recently.
With a little support in place, the dark cloud have started to part, I can now see what needs to be done. I now realise that I cannot foresee and predict the future, I can’t possibly know what will happen to us all. However, what I can do is help shape the future by what I do in the here and now, and ensuring my own well being will give me the strength to be there when my family needs me. I haven’t found the answer to all our difficult questions, but I feel assured that I will have the energy to keep looking and I have hope that our search will be fruitful.
So as chinks of light appear in our lives, the future is starting to look brighter and that monster beneath my bed is looking for a new home.
I’ve linked this post to #WASO
Very Proud Mummy. My 10YO boy has been elected onto the school council, voted for by other students. *Beaming*
— Sarah (@puffindiaries) October 18, 2013
Proud mum again. Youngest was in a concert last night and recited a poem, from memory, which he did beautifully even if I do say so myself.
— Sarah (@puffindiaries) October 20, 2013
So Stig put himself forward for school council and after an initial vote, it came down to him and another child. He had to prepare a speech, informing other students why he would be a good council member and what policies he’s like to bring in. I let him do it himself and then helped him to fine tune it, but it really was all his own work. Once he’d presented his speech the children voted for their favourite candidate. He had to wait a couple of days before the results were announced, I know he was nervous. However the news was good and he is now on the school council and he’s as pleased as punch and I’m beaming with pride.
Tink volunteered his services for a concert on Saturday night. Children, who wanted to be involved, were asked to select an amusing poem that they’d like to recite. Keen to do his bit, raising money for a school in Africa, Tink selected The Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Caroll, which apparently came to his notice through a volume of Lemony Snicket. It’s a long poem so some verses were chosen and he then went about memorising them. As the concert approached I could tell he was anxious, increased rudeness and a general decision to be difficult at every point is key indicators that this little boy is struggling. On the Friday night, worried he didn’t know his words he suggested “I don’t think I should do it mummy”. I reassured him that he would do well and then worried myself silly about how much he was worrying. Anyway Saturday night he was a star, even with all his worries and doubts he stood up and presented his poem beautifully, even if I do say so myself.
So yes we had two big achievements over the weekend, definitely special moments for the #Memorybox.
The clouds gathered and then parted only to come together again, like a heavy grey blanket across the sky. Our long Sunday hill walk was in danger of being rained off and our much needed fresh air would leave two little boys climbing the walls and fractious. So with a mummy knows best determination, a quick change of plan is made; our new destination are the sturdy pathways of the canal, arriving by car just in case of a down pour.
We have some lovely canal paths near our home, semi rural with good walkways running alongside. We’ve walked, even cycled them often, and so know the many delights we will find along the way. There is the canal side home with a smallholding, goats, pigs and chickens to point out and be amused by. The Canal basin, where many narrow boats are moored, and as we pass them we can sneak a peek between the curtains, to an enviable little home in a corridor.
So off we set, unsure of how far we would be able to venture before the weather called a halt to our escapades. Tink had brought friends, Coco the sock monkey and Clover the dragon, transported in their own little carriage, a Halloween pumpkin bucket. As we progressed along the waterways, as if to offer forgiveness for our changed plans, the clouds divided and warm rays arrived to accompany our canal side walk.
Spurred on by the sunshine, we walk further than expected, and to the boys delight a large Horse Chestnut tree hangs over our path and the floor is scattered with Autumnal treasures. There is scurrying and scampering to collect the prize objects, conkers.
Daddy jumps the wall into the field where the tree stands and a further abundance of conkers are ferried across. Everyone’s hands and some people’s pockets, are over loaded, so Coco and Clover have to move out of their bucket and into my pocket so that even more conkers can be carried home.
I hadn’t really noticed how far into Autumn we’d moved until we’d embarked on this walk but the signs were now everywhere.
As we walk back towards the car an extra part to the plan is hatched, lets stop at the pub for much needed refreshment and quick game of Old Maid.