On a good day, parenting will test the integrity of your character. On a bad day, parenting will test your will to live. Parenting children with trauma histories will cause you to test the integrity of everything and everyone you thought you knew, for the rest of your life.
~J. Skrobisz

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Far, far away in my mind

I've had lots of things to blog about.
But I've been away.
Far, far away in my mind.

I've had lots of thoughts and feelings.
But I've been away.
Far, far away in my mind.

I've not read a single blog
by all of the wonderful people I follow.
Because I've been away.
Far, far away in my mind.

I'm not even wistfully thinking about Orlando.
I've been away.
Far, far away in my mind.

Last year, before Sissy went to RTC, many of her items were confiscated in an effort to coral her behaviors. A year later we've learned that she has no affection or affinity for her possessions and actually has better control of her mind and behaviors when she has fewer things to think about. And of course, we built the safe room which is cute but tiny and has little space for extras. So her possessions remained stored in the closet off the garage.

It started with reorganizing WG's room after my BFF returned home. The trundle bed had to be returned and the new Christmas gifts needed to find a place. I remembered a plastic crate of Sissy's things being in the storage closet and thought I could put it to good use in WG's room. So WG's room in disarray, I found myself staring at the bins of Sissy's personal affects that I hadn't seen for more than a year, all for the sake of a plastic crate.

If I had thought first about the emotional roller coaster that task would put me on, I would have skipped it and driven to the local dollar store and bought a new bin for $5. My peace of mind is worth $5. But I'm a penny pinching miser. So I dived in and began sorting, tossing, weeding, making a donation pile and choking back tears.

Once upon a time I wanted a little girl. I wanted to hold her and hug her and kiss her and coddle her. I wanted to caress her and shower her with affection, love and praise. I wanted to teach her about life. I wanted to laugh with her, cry with her and be amazed by her.

The reality is, the best I can do for her is put her in a padded room with an alarm on at night. The reality is she can't have bins full of personal items in part because she doesn't give a flying flip about them, they served only the purpose of manipulating a person to purchase something for her. The "game" of the games was in the getting come hell or high water, not in the owning.

The reality is all the beautiful hair bows and scrunchies meant to encourage her hygiene; the pounds of play jewelry intended to make her feel pretty; the dozen note pads and pretty pens meant to be used to write her thoughts; the hundreds of dollars spent on dolls, doll clothes, doll toys and implements meant to teach her how to play house and mommy so she could model reality; the dozens of birthday gifts purchased with the intent to show her love and to help her develop an imagination in play time, all of it, ALL OF IT, the YEARS of it, the FIVE BINS full of it

have accomplished nothing.

My daughter is broken forever. I have invested all of myself and I'm not closer to helping her than I was the day I became her mother.



That word means nothing to her. At best I'm regarded as her personal chef and maid, her caregiver. In her mind I probably have a blank, featureless face and an indiscriminate form. My voice probably sounds like nails on a chalk board to her, even when I'm speaking with the most loving, dulcet tones.

The trash bin in front of the house is full as is the back of my van. I returned a few items to Sissy and the rest I left on the shelves in the storage closet with the thought that when Sissy has an "I'm bored" day I can pull out one of them and say, "Hey, here's some things you haven't played with in awhile."

I returned to WG's room and made it up pretty. She was excited to have her room back and was giddily letting me know about it. And as usual, I was far, far away in mind, lamenting about Sissy for the one millionth time instead of staying in the moment with WG and enjoying her enthusiasm.

I think that's what makes me angriest of all, Sissy has stolen that from me too. She has so successfully filled my every waking and sleeping thought that I literally have to pinch myself to pay attention to the two other children in my life that meet all the desires of my heart as their mother.

But I'm a deer in the headlights where Sissy's concerned.

Last night The Dad and I watched a movie. Near the end, after the father has learned that his daughter isn't biologically his child, he has a moment of mental anguish in which he decides not to return to his family. The little girl saw her dad from her bedroom window. He was standing in the yard, staring at the house trying to decide if he should stay or go and his choice was made simple when she burst through the front door of the house shouting, "DADDY!" nearly knocking him over when she jumped into his arms. The movie had nothing to do with my life but that moment brought tears to my eyes. Sissy will NEVER be that genuine in love and affection for any one of us in her family.

The truth is any length of time that I should be absent would net me an aloof, "hi mom" from a distance of 15 feet followed by "i'm hungry" or "I want ..." and then three days of vengeance and retribution. The truth is I haven't hurt this child and never will but she will always make ME pay for what she endured. The truth is I know the truth but it still feels like a bolt of lightning running through my body every time I'm forced to face it. The truth is, I don't sleep and when I do, I'm so tense I wake up feeling like a 75 year old with osteo and rheumatoid arthritis. The truth is I've lost four fillings in my teeth from grinding so hard in my sleep. The truth is I get anxious just thinking of Sissy, let alone seeing her. The truth is she is behaving well today but for how long and more importantly, why? What does she want? The truth is I can go to Orlando but I'll still have to come back. The truth is it's easier to be far, far away in my mind.

Today is AB's 10th birthday. I'm going to do everything in my power to stay present in my mind, even if it means pinching myself until I'm bruised. AB is an amazing young man, a fabulous son and he makes my life brighter and better just by being him.


Mama Drama Times Two said...

Happy Birthday AB! I'm impressed that although you are far-far away in your thoughts, you are able to express it so well here in your blog writings.

GB's Mom said...

I am glad you can bring yourself back for his birthday {{{Hugs}}}

Lisa said...

I sat on the floor in my little girl(s) room and sobbed as I sorted and tossed and donated most of their things. Just stuff to them, nothing of consequence, just things Mom bought to make them happy, things that were mine when I was little and wanted them to have. I bought things with love and the very best of intentions - just like you. The grief we feel over these things is overwhelming and breaks us over and over again.

Hoping you have a better day focusing on AB.

We can never enjoy the little things, the other kids or just plain peace when we're always waiting for the next rage, always on alert. Who are these people who just take it in stride? Who can function like this - I feel like we're in a war zone.

Miz Kizzle said...

I'm terribly sorry that you're experiencing such anguish. RAD is a terrible thing and so is mental illness. I don't have any direct experience with the former (thank God) but several members of my extended family are mentally ill. It helps to realize when one of them has done or said something seemingly deliberately cruel that the illness is to blame, not the person.
In other words, it isn't personal; Sissy would treat anyone who had the role of her mother the same way she treats you.
I doubt it's much consolation to you, but that's the way I look at it. You're also blessed to have two children who can feel and give genuine love.
I hope you enjoy Florida.