Yesterday, I unloaded my emotions and struggle. Today, I will tell you why I am grateful for the struggle (although I am good now and it can end any time, thank you very much).
The first reason is personal. If you know me, you know about my history. I am not very shy about it. Much of my youth was lived in total and complete freedom. Picking up and leaving town whenever I felt like it. Hopping trains, hitchhiking, sleeping wherever I fell (or the whiskey knocked me over). I don't often think too much about those days. That chapter of my life seems so remote that it might as well be a whole different book. Possibly a whole different genre.
I do not, in any way, shape, or form, regret choosing the life I have now. Not at all. But I do occasionally get wisps of melancholy when I realize I will never have that kind of freedom and lack of responsibility again.
Shortly before Dale left we went on one of our many walks. We went a new route and something about it reminded me of my past. I was feeling exhilaration lapping at my toes as we walked. We had no timeline, no place to be, no one to tend to. And then we turned a corner and in front of us stood the train yard. That exhilaration reached up and squeezed my heart. No, I was not even considering hopping on a train in Ukraine and seeing where it took me. But just seeing them, being there, something about the day. It was just in the air. It was nice.
And then, as the exhilaration rushed into my heart, ,that tiny ache pulsed out spreading through my limbs. My life now is one that can be defined by responsibility. I have 5, soon to be 6, little humans to care for. Not only do I have to feed them, bathe them, clothe them. But I educate them, nourish their hearts and spirits, and do my very best to turn them out into the world kind and caring. My job, above all else, is to make them not be assholes.
I love this job more than life itself. I would not trade it for anything. But, it is full of obligation, appointments, and stability. So, occasionally, I sigh when thinking of total freedom.
Last night I wandered upon an art show in the park and saw them setting up for a band. So, I stuck around and it turned out to be a band we heard a week or so ago that was really good. I stayed at the park till 9 at night. Dancing, singing, laughing, and admiring really amazing works of art.
I walked back to the apartment thinking maybe I can rock this after all. Then, I skyped with the kids. My baby is clearly upset with me. My 4 year old was singing me songs about how we love each other and mommy is coming home. Eva Marina kept asking if we are bringing V home yet. And my boys, well, my boys are just clearly in need of their mama.
As soon as we hung up I broke down into a sobbing, snotting, ball of mess. I don't want freedom. I want my family. I want home. This is all making me realize that, no matter how overwhelming or hard home gets, it is (pardon the cliche) where my heart is. Nothing could be clearer to me.
Which brings me to the second gift this struggle gives me.
I am done. I not only want my family and my friends, I also want to eat food that I recognize, smell smells that are familiar, I want to hear people speaking a language I understand. I want sights that signal my territory, I want to fall asleep in my own bed.
Facing the weeks ahead of me are almost enough to break me, but if someone came along and told me that there was no going back. That this is now my life. forever. I would completely lose my mind. I would first have a come apart complete with cussing and snot and tears. Then I would fight. I would kick and scream and rail against whomever I thought responsible for this horror. I would be terrified beyond words.
And that is the reality ahead for V. The first few weeks will be new, and exciting, and fun. When she realizes that there is no going back, that this is permanent, that she will not see the faces or places she has seen for half her life ever again, she will come apart. Wouldn't you?
Really think about that for a minute. Imagine being picked up out of your life and taken somewhere completely foreign-sights, smells, language, faces-and being told it was forever. Your loved ones gone. Imagine that.
But, the situation is not a good one for these kids, some people say. It doesn't matter. No matter how bad the old situation, it was all they knew. Even children who are abandoned and abused mourn the loss of their parents when they are removed. Those parents were all the children had, and so they grieve their losses. Even if they know they want a home and a mother, there is still so many losses for these children. And facing such a huge change would produce anxiety, sorrow, and fear in anyone.
This is one of those things people can not know intellectually. They have to experience it first hand. What I am experiencing gives me the closest glimpse I can get to what V will go through. What Eva Marina went through (and is still adjusting to). How could I properly respond to my children if I had no inkling what they were feeling? I know, I only have a tiny inkling, but it is the closest I can come. And I am thankful for this glimpse I get into their struggle. It sucks, but I am grateful.
Those are the gifts I get from my misery here. Appreciation and Empathy.
Todays visit was not good at all at first. I mean, not at all. The coming and leaving is clearly straining our relationship. She wanted little to do with me at first. In fact, she tried to attach herself to a woman who was there to visit the baby she has placed in the orphanage.It was pretty crushing to me, even though I know not to take it personally. My mama heart can't help that it got to me some. Thankfully the last half hour was good. She came out of her shell, held my hand, and we played and laughed. But then I left her again. Hopefully tomorrow she will not hold it against me too much.
Hope for Sharon and Mayah day 17