from tug of war to dance party

We played a tug of war for what seemed like forever. The more we pulled the more Jackie pulled back. If we pushed, she pushed. She tested and she disagreed. A lot. I knew she doesn’t do it intentionally, to annoy us. But irritate she did. Staying in the relationship during this testing season, even when we don’t know how long it will take, is what validates the certainty that we’ll be there for her during the difficult times. 

She would wake up and be contrary. For a while we responded with hopeful patience and kindness. At times, responding honestly is what kept me sane. I would confront her attitude and call it out. And even explain to her how it causes me to tense up. I sometimes raised my voice. Other times my heart would deflate. But we danced this uncomfortable dance for years it felt. I was stating to lose hope thinking that we need to deal with a bad attitude forever. I had forgotten how lovely life was before pre-puberty. We actually had fun and didn’t anticipate drama or grumpiness. I write these things now and I realize it could have been worse. So much worse. But our term of comparison was the adoption honeymoon phase and the connection we invested in and a strong bond we built together. 

We had a lovely month of October. O was intentional in every possible way trying to meet my daughters heart and hopes and dreams and expectations and even surpass them. Despite her attitude, just pour my heart into hers. We’ve had a few tearful talks and honest discussions but they were brief and connecting. 

On Monday, the last week of October, the first fall vacation day. Ivy suggested we go hiking. Jackie agreed without a word of complaint. They got ready and we hiked for 8 km. Three hours in the yellow forest. Both girls had a better attitude than me. But I kept my mouth shut and dandy ruin the joy. I was stressed to get back at a certain time and sign the final paper for our renter who was leaving for Timisoara. He was packed and we made it just in time. My grownup worries just burdened me a bit. Plus, we didn’t pack a lunch and the hike was pushing 1 pm.  We just had water and fruit which was plenty for the girls. I was hungrier than them.

After we solved the apartment thing we went swimming and conrad went food shopping. We showered at length and swam and relaxed. I was exhausted at the end of the day. But we made time to watch a show and conrad cooked dinner. It was a day smooth like butter. I can’t believe my eyes. I can’t believe my heart. Jackie is making a conscious effort and success in being helpful and attentive and kind. She is absolutely delightful. She practiced clarinet every day without reminding. Her back looks straighter. Today we visited the kineto therapist and she worked hard. We give them what they ask for. Now they learned to ask for healthy things and be tempered and have good measure. 

Conrad made sandwiches for lunch and I am cooking goulash for dinner. They are watching a movie animation and rest after another full day in town.  

It’s the last day of October. And I only need to let my heart savor the peace I sense around me. Thank God for the sustained effort paid in its due time. May we fight the good fight when we are called to it. And accept the joy and rest in the Sabbath of our childrearing.