Hugs from Jackie 

We have had a rough year. Actually the last three years were rough all in all. The moment we adopted Ivy, things changed. I was more tired, and she, my first daughter, pulled away. She never showed resentment toward the young sister. She adapted and tried. I also noticed her scoliosis the month after Ivy came home. Like her body tightened, twisted, stressed. The way she internalizes pain. She has all kind of coping mechanisms. 

I tried to dig deep to remember how I used o like my daughter and enjoy her company. It was hard at times. But after three years of sisterhood and a new season of separate school schedule, of time spent individually with us, Jackie leans into hugs more. She verbalizes her appreciation. She is an active participant in the relationship. She is witty, and kind and clever. I find her humor delightful and the delivery is spot on. Oh, I get a glimpse of a relationship instead of me feeling like I’m sacrificing my life for her to grow up. It became increasingly daunting to imagine another decade of this crappy type of one sided relationship. I know we’ll have ups and downs, I expect tension or discord, but I have renewed hope. 

When she would complain or compare or say things that hurt me, I have said to her she is free to go wherever she thinks it’s better for her. I bluffed. Those words of apparent freedom must have been hurtful or scary or awakening. She would look at me weighing her options. And then we would make up. I wonder sometimes though if I’ve been too harsh. The truth is that we can never hold people against their will. Non matter their age. Laying the options on the table was my last resort to cope as well. I dared to say them because she’s on the cusp of maturity to understand but innocent enough to grasp that moving and leaving are not feasible options. 

We often talk about the preset, the past and and the future. When she wants things I can’t give her, I tell her my job is to help her discern what’s good for her by giving go her good things to the best of my ability. They are not always the most popular things, or expensive, or fun. But they are good. 

I tell her in just a few years she will have independence but much like me will probably long for ready made meals, a warm home that is paid for, worrying only for tomorrows homework and the ups and downs of friendships. That time of adulthood will come, and I pray she will come home with joy. I parent keeping that in mind too. 

Today she is strong and independent and willing to try hard and take responsibility and grow up. It is my joy to observe these particular developmental stages in my kid. God bless her and keep her. 
remaining available to hug even as we are rejected over and over, as parents, we will notice a shift and if we’re ready we’ll relish in the return of affection. I get good hugs every day. And every day I smile because I am was Not expecting them.