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

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Burning desire to lick a face off

She sulks. Grace, our lab, sulks. She cries, pouts and whines. She loves Daddy. Me? I'm just the human that serves her food and opens the door to the backyard. She tolerates me. Hope, the dog we lost last fall, was my dog. Grace? All Daddy's. Currently she is lying in the hallway outside our bedroom door, still sporting the cone of shame, her muzzle resting just inches from the door jamb of our bedroom. The light is still on. She must think Daddy is in the bathroom and will emerge any minute.

I've even seen her sulk and cry outside the bathroom door for him.

And last week when he was gone for a few days, she was such a wreck she went back to licking the granulomas on her right paw. Licked it raw. Hid her head and front paws under the bed (as if I couldn't see her enormous back end sticking out) and licked and licked. Thus the reason she's back in the cone of shame.

And sulking in the hallway.

It makes me want to get another dog just for me out of spite. A gesture to Grace that says, hey! I'm a good dog mommy, just so you know!!!

Life has taken such a different spin with Sissy's hospitalization this time. I've rested, gotten things done (and let other things slack off - you should see the kids' bedrooms!), loved on myself, laughed, cried, and processed. This November will mark the second anniversary of this blog and the two year mark from Sissy's first placement. Depending on how medicaid reviews her case this month, the grand total will be close to a year of the last 24 months that my daughter has been in a hospital environment, away from me, away from family, away from comforts of the home environment, away from the normalcy of every day childhood life, away from public venues, away from the standard classroom, away. The only thing that makes me nervous about her potential return the first full week in November is that she may have been away so long that she may never recoup that time.

I translate that to mean that any hope of a regular, healthy relationship with my eldest daughter is long past my grasp. It is the only thing that still gives me anxiety at this point.

Still, I know inherently that she needed to be away for her health and safety and for ours. It's so commonplace now that I hardly notice that to the outsider hearing of our story, it's actually jarring and sad. To me, it just is what it is. Strangers have had more influence on my child's life in the last two years than I have in the last 11. And we've only just begun. When she's discharged, there's no way of knowing if she'll fully escalate immediately and boomerang right back into the hospital environment. There's also the countdown to her 13th birthday, just 14 months from now, an age the state provides alternative resources and services because they are adolescents and not youths anymore. As much as I'd like to think that we're through this storm in our life, I know without a doubt that we've merely reached a cool-down.

In our cool-down, so much has changed. AB has grown so much that he is now four full inches taller than Sissy. I'm puzzled but not surprised that she hasn't grown at all since last year. AB has also come into his own at home, comfortably assuming the position of "oldest", working hard at school, being helpful at home and attempting to communicate his thoughts in a more meaningful and useful way. WG's reading level has jumped again, she's now at 6.0 grade level for reading. Her imagination is strong and despite her restrictions for school behaviors, she manages to keep herself fully occupied, many times taking it upon herself to do things for the family without being asked. Last night The Dad discovered she'd filled the wheel barrow with fallen sticks and branches for the purpose of burning in our fire pit.

I've been busy as a beaver. With unexpected birthday gift money and a recent package of fabric scraps from a reader (thanks Kathy!!!) I was finally able to seat and cover my dining room chairs, a project two years in the waiting. AB says, "they should be for a king or something" and WG said, "you're the bestest mom EVER!" I think my friends and family and readers are the bestest ever. I'm seated comfortably at my table because of you.

And I've not been shy in returning the favor. I just finished and shipped a wall hanging to another RAD mom.

Regrettably, I must admit that I've not been reading other blogs. It's not because I don't love the people I'm following, it's because I've had to concentrate on myself and my family the past few months. Reading other people's stories makes me emotional and stirs up my anxiety for what lies ahead when Sissy returns. Like Grace, I sulk and gaze forlornly at my daughter's empty room. But unlike my faithful black lab who will be rewarded in a few short hours when The Dad returns, I'm liable to meet a frothing, seething, violent storm when my daughter returns.

Two years is too long to be living on the edge of sanity with a challenged child. I'd like to hope Sissy's return will make my tail wag and thump and give me the burning desire to lick her face off but The Dad is the only one that will get that reward ... from Grace.


Ranger said...

Gorgeous gorgeous seat covers and the quilt - the dark with the bright blue is stunning. Have you got any exciting inspirations for autumn/Thanksgiving colours? I remember well your fantastic Thanksgiving quilt last year.

Hugs, I wish I could say something realistically of comfort. Or send a lot of chocolate.

Integrity Singer said...

@ ranger - as a matter of fact, I do. Of course, I'll still be hanging the turkey panel but Ill be making a fall panel this weekend at a quilt retreat

Becky said...

Our children have some things in common. Like that SO much time in hospitals at this stage in their lives. We have something in common as well ... that feeling that this is only the beginning.

I haven't kept up with the blogs very well recently. Some days it is overwhelming. I am glad we have connected though! :-)