Sunday, October 11, 2009


It's been a season of change so far.

I started a new position in August, and while I'm still working out of the same office and building, still teaching the same courses, this new position requires me to make use of skills I didn't even know I had. I've been stretched in some new, uncomfortable, scary, yet exciting ways. I worry that I will inherently fail, and that when decisions are made about the permanency of this position in the new year, I'll be passed over for it. I also worry that I'm getting myself in too deep, that this isn't what I want.

My husband passed the bar exam after the first try. I never doubted his intelligence, although I think at times we have both doubted his drive. He has now been sworn in as an official attorney. He is currently maintaining his old job but beginning to look for new ones. I am tremendously proud of him. He has overcome numerous obstacles and achieved a goal that was once just a dream for him.

After much debate, our daughter started therapy to help her deal with all of the confusion she feels surrounding her brother and her biological family. It has been a hard fall; her nightmares plague her so frequently that we are both pressed for sleep. Often, she escapes to her room after the school day to catch up on the sleep she is missing at night. Nights come with sounds and fears and worries, but afternoons are warm and lovely and cozy under covers, knowing the light is still near, and so are her mom and dad.

And then there is my son.

A mix of contradictions, this young adolescent--a boy who misses me as much as I miss him; who needs the comfort of knowing exactly who will be coming and when and what time he will be talking to me and what I will bring him and who will make sure that he has what he needs and yet strives to be separate and independent from us. This fall has shown the tip of the iceberg in treatment. So thick is the armour of an attachment-disordered child that after four months he is just developing kinks in it. He has shown a pinch of the anger underneath the surface; the storytelling that makes no sense and has no focus; the manipulation of breaking the rules that always follows the pattern of safety in numbers. The tossing of his hands over his face as he exclaims through tears, "I give up! You just never understand!"

No I don't. I don't understand why you are like this. I don't understand why the doctors can't figure it out and give us a magic fix for you. I don't understand why my love has never been enough and never will be. I don't understand--at least in my heart--why adults choose to victimize children while they're in utero; why parents can't or won't put a baby ahead of everything else. And I can't explain it to you. I know all of the logic behind it and I understand the studies and the research and I can even read statistics and data analysis. But none of that fixes anything, does it?

I find myself struggling this fall to maintain outwardly. I want to curl up inside, like my daughter, cozy and snug in my blanket and away from all of the nightmare. To let the outside world move past me while I sleep, snug until some figurative springtime arrives and I have the sun and the warmth and the hope of the living again. But I have to go back to work on Mondays; there are appointments to be kept and chores to be done and lives to maintain.

The dark has always been my friend, my comforter. The same dark that frightens my child has removed my fear and comforted me. It is the day, the light, that arouses fear. The light that from which I cannot hide because I have to continue, one foot after the other, to make sense of the nonsensical and find peace where there is none. The light that brings with it commitments and obligations I cannot escape from. The day that brings with it the inevitable fact that I am struggling with a life so different from what I had always planned.

Did I mention I don't do well with change?

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