Sunday, April 21, 2013

loving her softly

I think I heard my oldest daughter's heart finish ripping in half last night.
It was the most sorrowful sound.
Even so, there was hope.
We were wrapping up a great day, week really.  I was making pizzas and she offered to help me finish. We both sprinkled cheese over the crusts and washed our hands.
"Thanks, babe." I said as she walked out of the room.
By the time I had put the pizzas in the oven, she was back in the kitchen crying and yelling.  She sat on the steps, held her face in her hands and sobbed.  I heard the word Ukraine many times, and it was clear that she was NOT HAPPY.
I sat next to her with my iphone for translation assistance and asked her what was wrong.
Many things were typed into my phone.  We sat on the steps type/talking through dinner.

What was the bottom line?

She understood that while this whole time she has planned that she would go back to Ukraine as soon as possible, there is no one there waiting for her.
There is no one to help her there.
She has nothing there.

How her heart broke when this became clear to her.

Just what exactly brought this on?  I believe it was a few minutes of furtive wifi use while we were at McDonalds.  We do not give the children unlimited access at home, but we don't restrict the occasional free hotspot.  She was able to see that people (a boy) she cares about had already moved on.  Mixed in with that was continued sorrow about her mother and her past and the stark difference between life with us and the life she lived prior.
It is a very heavy thing to love someone who was supposed to protect and take care of you but didn't.  How do you reconcile that in your soul?

Imagine this with me:
This woman I don't know shows up out of nowhere with her husband, they tell me they love me and my three siblings, give me their name, a home and a family.


How does that work?
My own mother, who gave birth to me, loves me but failed to do any of those things.
Does that mean she didn't really love me?
Is it a betrayal to like this new life?
Does it mean I don't love her?

As her mom, it is difficult to realize that the weight my acceptance and unconditional love is actually crushing her sometimes.

How do you love someone softly?

I tell her that I am so very sorry that her life has been so difficult for so long.  I tell her that her mother clearly loved her, but that her love was not enough to protect and care for her properly.  I tell her I wish that had not been true, but that I have no power to change the past.  I can only take care of from now on, and that it is a blessing from God that I get to do that for her.

Here is what I know.
My daughter was upset, heart broken really.  Of all the places she could go to cry out in pain, she made sure to come to the room where I was so that I could give her the comfort she needed.

And I did, because I am her mom.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

How Love grows

There are many people in my home.
Most of them love me.
One of them wants to love me but mourns her losses and dreams and schemes of going back.
One of them loves me more and more after every tantrum is spent and I controlled when she could not.
One of them does not wish to like it here and does not wish to love me.  She intends to be a tenant.
One of them just goes with the flow and is enjoying his new life and family in a very unconnected way that says, "I will enjoy this while it lasts."

It is odd to have your heart walk around outside your body in forms that do not recognize your love for what it is.  That can't help but neglect it and reject it and ignore it and long for it.

It is my joy to seize a moment to offer the comfort that my child didn't even know she needed: to hold her in my arms, stroke her hair, cry over her as her own tears fall,  to see her consternation over my tears for her fade in the comfort of my arms.  To know that in that moment, she understands that I love her.  It fades, but it will be back again.  It breaks my heart into a million pieces to have her share the tragedy that was suspected but unconfirmed until she tapped it out on my translate app.

It is frustrating to know that one of my children understands nearly every word I say but will not communicate with me in English and refuses to assist when her siblings are trying to talk to me.

It saddens me to see my son skittish around quick movements and to feel him flinch if an affectionate touch lingers to long.

It brings me joy to hear a new voice ring out, "Mama, Mama! Come here!"  To hold this little girl as she squeezes me around the neck and showers me with kisses.

There are strangers in my home.  
They do not love me.
They may never love me.
They do not have to.
I love them more than life itself.
It is enough.