I have always prided myself on being honest. I believe that I must own my truth. The good and the bad. The pretty flowers in my journey and the rotten planst that I also pass. I think there is something vulnerable and magnificent about truth. Truth stands on its own. It doesn't need me to change it or make it more palatable. It is imperfectly beautiful on its own.
I have always tried to respect the wishes of my daughters. After all, this is my truth as well as theirs. They live my experiences with me. We are a beautiful, messy, hurting, healing, happy, angry, fluid family. We are good times and bad times. But most of all, we are a family that is still together. I stopped writing for all of these months at the request of my oldest daughter, who was struggling. I have started blogging again at the request of my oldest daughter, who is healing.
I suppose I should get to my post name and stop emoting about....well, what was the point of all of that?
In January, I saw the Sherlock Holmes movie.....I had never read any of the books so I had no idea how delicious he was. This started me on a journey of fabulous british television. Resulting most recently with my obsession with Dr. Who. Not all Dr. Whos but The 11th Doctor specifically. He is wonderful! I love everything about this character. I think I have a fictional character crush even.
In the show he has a TARDIS (time travel machine) and he travels throughout all of time and space. In the show he tells his companions there are fixed events in time and history that cannot be changed and then there are events that can be changed. Parts of history that can be changed.
I am part of a support group. It is a wonderfully beautiful group of people that I have come to value very much. Our leader/moderator (the actual word escapes me) posed a question. If we could go back and change anything about our adoption journey what would it be.
So, of course, me having the rich imagination that I have....I think of my beloved 11th Doctor. If the good Doctor could take me into the TARDIS what fluid part of history would I be taken to so I could alter it. Then I thought about which parts would be fixed times, things I couldn't change. This is where I overthink things. (it is a hazard of anxiety and my tendency toward perseverating)
I wonder exactly which points in my journey are fixed and which could be altered. I think about the tough times, the REALLY tough times, the laughter, the tears, the stress on my marriage, the cost of relationships with other people, the great emotional and financial expense and I am surprised that there only a few things I would have changed.
The only BIG thing I would change is the effort my husband and I put into our marriage. We have a great marriage! I love him very much but there are still bruises and bumps from this crazy journey. We should have saved more of ourselves for each other and stepped back during the hard times to cling to each other. More time for romance and intimacy. We are best friends. Have been since the minute we met each other. We spend much of our free time together. We know how to make each other smile, we sense when the other is hurting. We fit together magnificently. But the stress and hard times sucks the life out of us and romance can go out the window! We have worked hard to reclaim our intimacy and romance in our marriage. I just feel as though there were years lost because I didn't find value in these things sooner. We were together, knew we would be forever, so I took for granted these things. NOT anymore!
I would have started therapy during the adoption process. I should have had someone to process things as they happened not in the aftermath of parenting trauma. I would have asked for help so I didn't become withdrawn and bitter. Perhaps, I wouldn't have lost as many relationships in my life. Many people that live outside of parenting trauma, only see the bad stuff as who the child is. They see the hurt and pain the trauma causes you and they aren't able to separate the child from the trauma. How can I expect others to do this when I, myself, struggle with this sometimes. I should have been more patient, accepted the help offered and I shouldn't have tried to control how they helped. People tried to support us but didn't know how to. I was so focused on feeling as though I was drowning and suffocating under the pressure that I was angry and bitter. I didn't have the energy to guide them to help me the way I needed. I know they would have done it, if they knew how to. Especially if I had helped them. I continue to have great hope that I can repair these relationships because I am aware of how wonderful the relationships can still be!
I would have told the me of 9 years ago not to be consumed by the trauma. YES, I know this is a seemingly impossible thing but it can be done. The trauma isn't WHO my daughters are and it isn't WHO I am. I lost myself in helping my daughters. The appointments, the therapies, the meetings, the collaterals, the ER visits, the energy, the hours of energy, it became all consuming. I should have joined a support group sooner, I should have gone out to dinner with my sister more, I should have developed friendships that didn't center around trauma, I should have read more, taken more walks, done more things that made me happy. My daughters are survivors and they would have still been ok. Actually, they should have seen me take care of myself more often. You can't take care of others if you don't take care of yourself. I am so much happier and healthier now that I take care of myself. AND you know what? My girls see the difference in me taking care of myself.
I would have gotten involved with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) sooner! They have many great references for those living with mental illness and for the caregivers. I encourage you to check them out! They are a wonderful organization and can be a wonderful lifeline. www.nami.org
I am sure you notice what I didn't want to change....I wouldn't change my daughters or our journey together. They are beautiful young women.
The thing is.......we can always change now! Everyday is a new opportunity for new beginnings. I don't have to go back to fix things. I have a new chance to change things every day. I don't need to change the past because I can change the future.
Sorry Doctor but I won't be needing the TARDIS after all.