This post is part of the Open Adoption Roundtable on Open Adoption Bloggers. Open Adoption Bloggers hosts a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It’s designed to showcase the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community. You don’t need to be listed at Open Adoption Bloggersto participate or even be in a traditional open adoption. If you’re thinking about openness in adoption, you have a place at the table. The prompts are meant to be starting points–please feel free to adapt or expand on them. This is my response to their latest prompt..............
"After a Visit."
I used to think about visits with Georgia's birth-mom and her mom a lot. Thankfully, as our open relationship has progressed, Sharon--Tarah's mom--has even shared her feelings about it on this blog, and we're more and more honest with each other about we feel, I don't think about the "after" of a visit as much as I used to. And for me......that is a huge relief.
Because the thing is, I used to worry myself into oblivion after a visit.
"Was Georgia well behaved enough?",
"Do they think she seems happy enough?",
"Did I seem like a super happy mom that is always in a state of bliss even though I had five hours of sleep last night?", "When Georgia does need re-direction, do they think I handled it well?",
"Georgia cried....a lot....they think I'm a terrible mom."
"Georgia acts so shy around them and they're so out-going--they must think we're sheltering her."
"Georgia can't really swim yet and they live on a lake--I'm disappointing them."
"Georgia has had a UTI for eight months. They must wonder why in the world we can't figure this out."
I remember one time when Tarah's mom, Sharon, was over by herself, Georgia was in a particularly hyper mood--she was berserk. She threw something in the air after being asked a number of times not to and it hit Sharon right in the head. I wanted a magical trap door to open under me. I had to do something about it. I refuse to be one of those parents who just smiles about bad behavior and shrugs it off with a, "I don't know why she's doing that. She's always a perfect angel."
She was two. If you think your two year old is "always a perfect angel," I'd like a sip of whatever you're drinking.
I put her in time out in her room and she threw a fit. Like an "I'm being murdered fit."
And then I got her out and I made her apologize to Sharon.
And Sharon seemed okay with it. She kind of laughed it off and we went about our visit.
When she left I started thinking about all of the things I worried about when it came to visits. And it was just so stupid. This woman has raised three amazing daughters. She has kids in and out of her house all the time--she's like a kid whisperer. And most importantly.....
She's a mom--an excellent one. And she helped her daughter pick me to be Georgia's mom. To do mom things like play in the back yard, show Georgia how to look people in the eye and say hi, play appropriately, laugh, learn how to use the potty, say please and thank-you, love a little girl like crazy, and turn her into a responsible adult.
And she knows-- (as does Georgia's birth-mom who is also AMAZING around kids) she knows how two year olds act, and three year olds, and seven year olds and twelve year olds, and sixteen year olds. She's seen her fair share of tantrums, broken toys, hurt feelings, lies, bad attitudes, cranky faces, and crazy kids. None of this is new to her. None of this is surprising. None of this is an indication that I'm doing a bad job as a mom.
It's all normal. Expected. A rite of passage. A really hard job. And.........the one that her family is trusting me to do.
So now--after a visit I don't worry so much. I don't make it all about me and what I should or shouldn't be doing differently. I'm thankful. Thankful that I have these people in my life to ask questions of, laugh with, kick my shoes off at their house and jump in their pool, invite to birthday parties, send piles of pictures to, go to the circus with, eat way too much Greek food, and most importantly........
Visit with. For them, for me, for my daughter.
And after a vist.......I find myself thinking, "I can't wait to see you again."