Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Mad Men, foster care and the rest

My love of Mad Men knows no bounds. Like everything else I like, I don't just like--I obsess. The season is over for now and nothing will appear until next year. I like how the final season is going. Don is starting become a human being.

The writer of this show, Matt Wiener, enjoys exploring the sequelae of ugly childhoods. Don is a child from a neglectful and abusive childhood. He was born a bastard and unwanted. He was molested in his early teens by a prostitute that lived in the same house. That house up there is a house of ill repute, his childhood home. He is showing the house to his children. Meta!

Neglectful and abusive childhoods cause a child to be centerless. They don't form a center from which we trust, seek out and reciprocate love. Don is not able to do this. He is a self centered and manipulative man. Good looking as he is, his suit is quite empty.

In the words of Queen Ellen, "He is all sizzle and no steak."

The steak that makes us who we are suppose to be. We are to exchange and be intimate. We are to love and get crazy together. It's a stupid, hard world out there and we need each other.

I place all of this in context of my foster daughter's life. She's been with us for 17 months now. Parenting her is somewhat like parenting my own kids. The evil one fights to come out, the kids give lip,  be disrespectful and display general childhood grumpery.

Then there is this:

"I don't want to be a child in your family.",  my foster daughter said to my husband last night.  I had sent her downstairs to brush her teeth. The signal for bedtime. She said, "Other families watch movies and stay up late. Other families don't have bedtimes.You guys are boring!" 

In her 6 year old mind,  she wishes we were like her mom and her other family. They stay up until 10 pm and watch movies. They have no rules or structure. I can't say I blame her, I'd want to live in Neverland too. Except Neverland is a nightmare. They do all sorts of things we don't do. Like smoke weed, stab each other, kill family dogs and do lengthy jail stays.

Her mom is currently in jail, in segregation  no less. Segregation means she can't even keep calm and behave so she's in a cell by herself. The more I know about this woman, the more I want to throw up. She's chaotic and violent. She has no center. She can't attach with others on any sort of healthy or sustainable level. My heart aches for this woman. I can't help but love and care for her because I love and care for her child. I pray for her.

It makes me mad because she's not going anywhere. If we adopt our foster daughter, she's not going to just die. She won't stay in seg for ever. She'll be there in the background. The Lord has a plan for this woman and we're becoming part of it.

I know what would fix this woman. I know what will fix my foster's daughter's yearnings to be free from rules and constraint. I know what will fix my anger and my husband's sadness about all of this.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
So I pray. I pray and pray and pray . . .

I pray that His love will come through us and form the center she needs not become like her mom. That'll be my start.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The psychology of the clean and jerk

The clean and jerk

As a foster mom there is a lot of waiting, phone calls and endless nothing. I want to obsess. I want to reread the social worker's email and search for clues about things. I want to quiz my husband about every conversation he has with the guardian ad litem. I want to know what is going on besides nothing. Nothing but waiting and nothing decided and it's been over a year and it's going to be longer. Unless it isn't.

Obsessing over nothing is a large waste of my precious energy. And makes me neglect Mr. Hall.

So, this is what I'll do instead:

1. focus on calming the hell down. Breathing. Accepting. Moving on. Be still and know that I am.

2. Fill my obsessive needs with what I have going on right now. Right here. This includes the many kids I have and their various needs.

3. Play more youtube videos and dance all crazy like with the kids.

4. Focus on my crossfit training and marvel and my excellent clean and jerk skills. Every time I go to crossfit my heart explodes with awesome uplifting awesomeness. It helps me channel my crazy in ways I never knew possible.

5. Focus on competition training because holy crap! I'm going to be competing! I hope to add something to my team. I'm working extra hard to be an asset!!

6. Give Mr. Hall extra wifey love because he is worn down.

7. Go to church and try not to cry and cry anyway because I'm so overwhelmed with love.

8. Deeply and madly enjoy each dress I wear. I have so many dresses for summer!

9. Chase my toddler around.

10. Make a lot of food with shrimp.  And that tasty pink sauce that is on the sushi. That's good stuff, what is that anyway?

So yeah, that's what I'll do instead!

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