Saturday, November 10, 2012

2 Steps Forward, 1 Leap Back

The Stride Rite, XX-Wide Etienne shoes
     Etienne figured out how to tie his shoes.  To every kid (and care giver) this is a big milestone, but for our boy, this was bigger, "epic" as Molly would say.  Most of the time, Etienne struggles with simple tasks like going to the restroom or remembering the sound of his letters; and he is brilliant, brilliant boy.  It's just that a lot of his wires, his emotions, his senses, they all get tangled up and so when he "gets" something, it is monumental.  And it's emotional.  For all of us.
     The shoe tying "light bulb" moment was surrounded by his crew.  Molly is kissing him and Blake is explaining "Etienne! You did it! And this is good attention!" (he has been trained well and it was all genuine joy that he expressed).
I was capturing it on film to hide my tears and Ryan just smiled.  He gets the credit on this one for patiently demonstrating the loop over and over.
     We also had a couple of days of "Way to Go!" behavior.  There was some listening, some hard work on letters and even helping another classmate out. In the kid's school, a "Way to Go!" card earned him a free kids meal at Applebees.  Our plan is a mommy and daddy date to Applebees just the three of us.
     I am thrilled. I am so proud of him.  Honestly, I am.  The battle I am having is a selfish one because I want that good behavior.  All the learning is such a blessing and huge progress.
     Thankful. Grateful.  Relieved.  Encouraged.  All words and emotions that I should feel.  And I do.  But this little human corner of my mama heart is still sad.  Sad that I can't get this.  Hurt that he looks me in the eye and he lies to me.  Sad that he finds tools and gadgets to damage and deconstruct; knowing full well it is me that will fix, clean and put everything back together again.  I pray over and over that I can love him the way my Heavenly Father loves me.  That I can continue to wake up and forgive and hug and snuggle and walk away when his words and his actions make me want to slap something or someone.
     God sustains me in the unconditional love that I am so privileged to see.  Molly checks in on E every day.    I found her secretly reading Adoptive Families magazine; an article entitled "Navigating the Older Child," with tears in her eyes.  She looked at me and said, "I wish we could have had E sooner."   Me too, sweet girl.
This love is real.

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