So I picked up my youngest this week and was surprised to be presented with an invitation for his pre-school graduation party in July. It caught me off guard firstly because it’s only just May (!!) but secondly and most importantly because I feel like we’ve only just gotten into an easy, steady rhythm again (especially just after all the breaks for Easter and the upcoming Whitsun). It’s not been an easy year for any of us.
It did make me stop and reflect just what a ride this last year has been. This time last year (May – 6 months post placement), I was literally on the verge of a dark abyss. I was EXHAUSTED, we were getting NO HELP from our local council placement agency. I was fighting all the time to get my kids (and ourselves) the help we needed to make this placement successful.
The first time I took our youngest to this pre-school (in September last year), given their attachment style (Ambivalent) they and I were happy to be away from each other. They were still not properly attached to me and so would run to anyone with open arms for a cuddle while I was just worn out and already dreading the moment I’d have to come back. Some mums express guilt over ‘leaving’ their kids at a preschool/nursery, I can honestly say I didn’t. I felt utter relief. I drove off wondering if I was really cut out to do this at all. Shouldn’t I be missing my two little ones?
I have a very hard time “letting” myself relax, even before the kids’ arrival I was like this. Before the kids I would ALWAYS be doing something. I run this business now (adoption card shop) but before the kids I ran three other businesses from home. When the kids arrived I took a 6 months hiatus from my three original businesses and by this time last year, I was literally chomping at the bit to get back to my businesses. So by the time we got him into a few full time days (not until this past September) I was READY for some time away from them.
It took quite a few counselling sessions (yes after much pushing our Social Services finally found us a family counselling services and both the kids and we [as a couple] where having weekly sessions) I realised I didn’t need to be SO completely available and physically present for my kids to grow up healthy and emotionally strong. In fact, time apart made us all appreciative of each other and cherish times together more!
It turned out that the times apart actually it brought us closer together. The first few weeks I grant you I was far too tired to notice it, but once I was feeling more rested, I found myself missing them. I found myself looking forward to picking them up (the eldest was just in foundation at ‘big’ school). When I did pick them up I found I was ready to listen, ready to play.
I noticed that by Christmas my youngest was now pining for me, would now cling to me when I said good bye and would on occasion cry. I found myself feeling guilty, missing him, worrying about how he was doing throughout the day. These were all signs that for both of us the healthy attachment bond was growing!
So here we are 1 year on (19 months post placement) – they are getting my youngest ready for the next stage – ‘big school’ and I suddenly find myself wishing we’d had more time just to hang out. That’s the sad thing about adoption – if your kids are older when they arrive you have so little time to cherish the quiet times, the colouring, the cuddling, the story reading etc. because they have to go to school so quickly. If you’re in that dark place – you know when you’re at your wits end, the screaming seems to go on forever and you’re alone with an angry child and your literally counting down the days on a calendar till they go to school, TAKE A BREATH, look down and cherish them as much as you can as very shortly (too shortly) they’ll be heading off for full time school and believe me, you’re going to miss them!!!!