Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bucking up

Today sucked.

Bethie woke up crying and continued to whine and cry most of the day. That wasn't the problem. The problem was the hitting, the biting, and the scratching. The problem was the tantrums. The problem was the fact that both of us are exhausted. I've hit a wall and I think she has too. The problem was that I haven't changed out of my pyjamas since - when did we get home? Thursday? The problem is that she won't have anything to do with Walker so I am on, full time, 24/7. The problem is I am sleepwalking through parenting the other four. The problem is I want my mom and she is in Cuba - CUBA of all places.

So tonight, she refused to go to sleep. Of course she did, because Walker is out of town. Which meant I laid in bed wondering what on earth my other four neglected kids were up too since 101 Dalmations had ended at least an hour ago and we were an hour past their bedtime. Then she rolled over so that she was lying directly over my bladder. I managed to confirm on iCloud that Walker was a good two hours away right before my iPhone died. So lying in the dark, a tiny little Ethiopian girl stretched out across my body, I prayed, "Dear SUCKED."

And He answered, softly and tenderly, "You used to be home all day long with a newborn, a one year old, a two year old, and a three year old, and you're letting your butt get kicked by one little two year old? BUCK. UP."

Yes, God said butt.

And as so often is the case, it was not at all the answer I was expecting but exactly what I needed to hear.

A couple of weeks before we left to get her my friend Jana sat in my kitchen and asked, "What is it exactly that you're so afraid of?" and forced me to declare specifically where my fear lay. "It's that I won't know what to do." And then I cried.

Years ago when I was quite young I was an event planner for a catering company, a job that I loved. In my performance review a few months into it, my boss stated astutely, "Your problem is that you want to be the best RIGHT NOW. You don't want to wait on the experience that it takes to get there. But it just doesn't work that way."

Her words struck me then and have stayed with me for twenty years, popping into my mind when I began new endeavors such as teaching, or parenting.  

You want to be the best RIGHT NOW.

The irony is that I am not a perfectionist. There are only a few things that I want to be the best RIGHT NOW at. Only a few things that I wanted to wake up an expert on. Only the most important ventures when I wanted to skip the terrifying middle ground of not knowing what to do, where the experience comes, where the mistakes are made. 

Event planning was one of them. 

Being an adoptive mom is another.

Today I didn't know what to do. Today was the just one of many days where I won't know what to do.

I don't want to stare at my little girl when she hits me or bites my shoulder and be paralyzed by the fear of what in the hell do I do now. I don't want to grapple with it every night when I wonder whether it would traumatize her to move her out of my bed and into her crib. I don't want to be the clueless one. I don't like being the rookie. I like being the expert. I like being the one who is asked, not the one doing the asking.

But it just doesn't work that way.

Years ago, when I was quite young, I didn't know what to do with a newborn. Or a one year old. Or a two year old or a three year old and certainly not all at one time. I wasn't the best. I had to ask. I had to pray. I had to make mistakes. I had to get all the pride and impatience refined out of me and then the Holy Spirit stepped in and we figured it out together.

Then I got comfortable.

I'm not comfortable anymore. I'm in the terrifying void of ignorance.  I am certainly not the best. I am making tons of mistakes. 

I hate it. And I'm desperate for prayer, for advice, for the Holy Spirit to step in  remind me that we'll figure this out together.

And that's exactly where God wants me to be.


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