Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Obviously Worth It?
Climbing up the down staircase as usual, remembering the first time my brother and I saw an escalator as children, how much fun we had running up the wrong one, but it's kinda been the story of my entire backwards life. I didn't tan myself at the beach, I get more than enough sun from working outside all the time, reading this article this morning was yet another big ole dumb duh. Truthfully though...what's in sunscreen and how can lathering chemicals on your skin be good for you?
Simplifying seems to be the only way to go. Uncluttering is my goal.
I understand that 600 parents calling the elementary school, to find out which classes their children will be in, would shut down the phone system and not allow the office staff to get anything done at all, but for kids like mine, to know this information in advance, would go a very long way towards easing up their visibly mounting anxieties.
Tabby's eyes are getting wider by the minute, Nando is antsy and irritable, Allen is nearly clinically depressed over the thought of having to function in a school setting, where everything seems to be so effortless for the majority of students. Last night, bugging me about getting on the computer, I used that opportunity for a nagging moment.
"Do you wanna be able to grow up and afford your own laptop? One where you don't have to wait in line for a turn?"
"Yes ma'am!" was his obvious answer.
"Then you have to go to school and get an education so as to be able to afford one."
A simple answer that absolutely baffles his mind. The bottom line is to be found within his deeply held belief, bolstered by multiple moves and continuous breaks from caretakers in his early years, his mind and his emotions so damaged by the painfulness and the constant, unrelenting early trauma. This is what takes so long to overcome. After so many years of parenting hurt children, I'm beginning to wonder if it can ever be overcome at all, as I watch so many of my older children constantly flounder.
I think back to my own early 20s when I was very similar to the Adoption Counselor. Hey, it was the 60s. But I, too, firmly held to my dreams and goals, in spite of all those around me who bought into some very nebulous ideals and hippie concepts. I always knew who I was and where I was going. I never drifted. I had a plan.
I still do.
Self-medicating never appealed to me, being out-of-control was not an option for me. I never wanted to be controlled by alcohol and its negative consequences, nor drugs. I made some dumb choices, of course, a lot of them, but I learned from them all. I still make mistakes, but I still learn.
I never, ever was unemployed. As non-materialistic as I am, I still liked to have money to pay the bills. Nowadays I'm appalled at the greediness, the name brand label obsession amongst folks who can barely read and write.
But then there's the answer. They need the labels to provide self-esteem, as they are unable to dig down deep within themselves and feel good about their own self-worth. This is where I need to concentrate my efforts, redouble my attempts at helping my children comprehend their own intrinsic value. It's easy to do with the four kids I've raised since birth, as they weren't ripped around, jolted, abused nor neglected. The damage done to my other children is staggering and very difficult to overcome.
As I see them grow older though, I do still have hope, knowing that maturity may bring some wisdom and confidence to them. There are periods in their lives, in their young adult wild times, when they truly do seem unreachable, and I can only pray for their safety and their ability to even physically survive at all. I have to walk the very thin line, not ever enabling, not bossing, no "I told you so", hopefully waiting it out, praying they'll see the error of their ways, and begin to self-correct someday. I have to cling to hope.
Mayra and Sabrina, predictably sullen, are obsessed with dumb teenage shows like ICarly and Hannah Montana as if these are role models with their sassy know-it-all, non bill-paying attitudes. Do you girls really think this is representative of real life?
Why can I not get it across to them both that the ability to add and subtract is crucial to money management? Mayra literally sneers at my uncoolness, sighing with exaggerated boredom. Wow girl, tell me how you think that attitude's gonna work for you?
In contrast, Lily (pictured above) who's been here since birth and is emotionally solid, secure and stable, asks very interesting questions of me like, "How was the speed of light first measured?" Like I have a clue? Very unconcerned and uninvolved in teen angst, Lily loves her Yorkie Tia, her family, and her place in life. So refreshing to me.
I have one sibling group who overall could have been simply labeled 'incredibly mean, lazy and oppositional' as every single one of them have been entrenched in these behaviors. I've poured myself into them, into programs and resources, into teaching and emotionally supporting them all, but it's been so incredibly uphill and seemingly useless...to no avail. Violent and stubborn, academically challenged, and opposed to logic, no matter the natural consequences.
My posts are getting longer and denser, more often at times, as I grapple with issues and challenges, while pouring some of it out here in my writings, the futility of trying to instill any middle class values seems so often to be less likely than successfully nailing jello to walls. For me to be a repository of misdirected hatred and aggression is too wearying to even contemplate this morning. I need more coffee.
So much to do, so little of it ever appreciated, such an uphill climb against negative prevailing winds, that I must literally make myself focus on those kids who desire my attention, certainly not the majority, but obviously worth it. Right?