Expectations

Sometimes it takes a while to recognize the most beautiful gifts another person has given you. Often times we take those things for granted because life happens. We have good days and bad days.

Last night, in the middle of tossing and turning, returning our four year old back to her bed (several times) I had a moment of full gratitude. I had a moment of retrospect.

Kali Rose is technically my granddaughter. She is the child of one of my adopted daughters from Romania. Tunde arrived into my life when she was nine. She suffers from bipolar, schizoaffective d/o and other mental disabilities. When social services called me to let me know that Kali (5 months old) was being removed from her care I was given a choice: I had two hours to go get her at their office or she would be placed in foster care.

I turned to my then boyfriend and before I could finish the sentence he said, “Babe, where do we pick her up?” He had no questions or doubts. He had never been a father. He didn’t even flinch. There was zero doubt of what needed to be done. And as time passed we made her ours and it took two and a half years to finalize her adoption. Matt did not care that she could have had HIV (since her biological dad did) or that she could suffer from mental illness from her gene pool. There was absolutely no question of what “we” had to do.

Back this April we got a call from Florida that Tunde’s second child was taken into foster care. Within a few hours we had a plan. Matt explained that this little boy needed to be with us. He was Kali’s biological brother. “We can do this!” And we did. It took months and fighting with the system but last month we brought him home.

I thought about this after all these years. I don’t know why but I laid in bed massaging my heart in gratitude. He never once questioned his decisions. This wasn’t my first rodeo. But it has been his.

What ruins us in relationships and other commitments in our journey is the abundance of irrational expectations we place for ourselves. We expect much from our loved ones and when it doesn’t appear as the perfect package we get angry and disconnect. We end the relationship. We stop growing together.

I share this today because sometimes in the middle of adulting we tend to forget the small significant details of what others do to impact our lives. It’s a habit. It’s old programming. It’s just life. Because, let’s face it, living in this human form is challenging. We take one step in front of the other unconsciously. We forget what we were here to remember.

Look back at those small increments of time. Acknowledge the love from another. Today I’ve thought about that particular day on May 28th, 2014. His kindness and determination allowed me to move forward knowing he had my back. No relationship is perfect or happy all the time. But, it’s in the brutal challenges and obstacles that you get to witness the integrity and support of another.

I love that. And I am beyond grateful. ~m.a.p.

Entryway

The outside of your door

still smells like you,

as I hold the knob

and then let go…

I cannot go into your space

just yet.

I cannot clean or visit

the things you left behind

in turmoil,

chaos,

and pandemonium.

This still seems surreal —

a bad nightmare

full of confusion

as it took me by surprise

even when I foresaw the outcome

so very long ago.

You are gone

to a place I cannot reach for a while.

But,

here behind the door

sits your life

the way you left it

and it’s okay to allow

the memory cells

to reside there.

Time has a way of moving

even the static

that was left between us both.

You will always have

the love

that you rejected

as a safety net

to return to the four walls

behind this small entrance.

Gifts of Love

tutus

I have been an avid student of all my children. Each one has taught me something I didn’t know I had in me, imagined I could do, would want to do, and so much more. My middle daughter’s mental challenges changed me. Her bipolar disorder also enriched my perceptions. I have been turned upside down, right-side up, yet enlightened in ways I can never express. Living with mental illness is a day to day wave and all you can do is surf it without restraints or expectations. When she arrived into my life at the age of 9 from Romania, I knew my life would never be the same. I have witnessed tenacity, perseverance, disorder, disarrangement, and complexity in myself. Our mirrors have reflected personal issues that I wouldn’t have addressed at other times in my life. I have been pushed to learn things of the human spirit I didn’t even know existed. She has taught me the meaning of unconditional love, surrendering, acceptance, forgiveness, grace and patience. I am not a patient person and she has been the button-pusher of constant reminding how much I can tolerate. I am always shocked by how much I can endure and where the lines are drawn.

My daughter, in her struggle for understanding while living with severe anger and mental disorders, has gifted me with the most precious experience of all. She has given me a child, my granddaughter, to raise again as a child of my own. I hope this seventh child will make the rest of this journey magical. This little girl has reshaped my reality. She has allowed me to throw all plans out the door. My daughter is very present inside of this little girl and I marvel at the preciousness of another generation teaching me more about life and myself. I am aware at this love that I wasn’t expecting in this time in middle years.

The mind is our most priceless commodity. It creates, modifies, regenerates, releases, and forces us to see past the boundaries of time and space. My daughter has taught me to love fiercely in a way that I didn’t know was available. She is not capable of understanding many of the issues that created the loss of permanency for raising her daughter. Her dissociative identity disorder does not permit her mind to see normalcy and stability. She will forever be stuck at 13 years of age. The older she gets the more noticeable it becomes. But, she’s taught me to see the exceptions to all the rules.

Recently while I held this two year old in my lap I told her what I say every day, “I love you, sweetheart.” She immediately responded as a matter of fact, “I know.”

My husband and I laughed out loud and she returned the giggles in exaggerated form. She has brought tremendous light into our home. I am grateful for this journey. I never imagined it in a million years. There are days I don’t think I will survive another childhood but then love is seen through the eyes of a sweet baby girl and I know that God is staring right at me. Who else is gonna join me to dance with tutus and tiaras? Who else will sit and listen to fairy tales and stories of unicorns and wizards? This journey is a pure gift of love!