Yes, two years. This November 23rd. It's a long time to be actively in crisis as a family. It's a lot of miles on the road. It's been out of hope and determination that this half-smiling face that is the spitting image of her birth mother, might be functional in a home environment.
I won't say "heal" anymore, which may be taboo in some adoption circles. After two years of active crisis, the pinnacle of the previous nine years of turmoil attempting to help my daughter, I've downgraded my expectation and hope to "functional".
It's been a long, monotonous, weary, exhausting journey.
And it's not over.
The emotional and mental anguish will likely ebb and flow through my veins like the tide for the rest of my life. PTSD is alive and well in my body. Some days I can't separate it from my anxiety. Other days my body just says, "Nope. No way. Not gonna happen. Forget it."
I'm battle weary, war torn and despairing. This weekend we'll try again with another overnight visit. I WANT to be positive. I WANT to hope it will go well. I WANT my daughter to be back under my roof and be happy to be here. I WANT her functionality to have increased over the last four months. I WANT it. But I don't believe it's possible. Essentially, I'm telling myself what I want can never be and yes, I'm very much aware that my own mental approach could become a self-fulfilling prophecy for Sissy. She needs to believe in herself, she needs to believe that I believe she has overcome. She needs to hear my positivity.
I'm all out of positivity.
Monday I went to the hospital to do an off-campus family session. The therapist went shopping with Sissy and I. Imagine this please. I had to plan my grocery shopping list, with coupons and without any perishable items. I had to get WG and AB dressed, fed and off to school in enough time to be at the hospital at 11:00 A.M., planning for the construction traffic (20 miles of it both ways). I had to remember my list, my coupons, organize them according to the store's layout (only to find that the Kroger near Sissy's hospital is not laid out the same), pick up my daughter and the therapist, discover that we can not go in MY vehicle because it's hospital policy, dash back to the van to grab my grocery sacks, purse, list, coupons, etc. all with Sissy giddy as crap because she hasn't been to a grocery store since August. Then I get in the vehicle with the therapist and Sissy, instruct the therapist where the grocery store is (she doesn't live in the area of the hospital so even though I live 140 miles away, I have a better command of the local area - go figure). Thus, I'm navigating while Sissy is yammering about ... well, darn it, I love her and she's cute as a button but the girl can yammer about nothing and she can yammer for a.very.long.time.without.taking.a.single.breath.
Then three of us shop in the crowded store (who knew 11:30 a.m. on a Monday morning would be so busy?!) and the only correction I got from the therapist was "take of your hospital ID badge to protect Sissy's privacy" and "next time bring a clip board and a pen and organize your coupons to streamline the shopping process".
Oh, I attempted to defend myself, a skill I am working on in individual therapy for ME (by God, I'm sick of Sissy being the only patient in this family) but what was the point? She was already writing it in her notes that those were the suggestions she had for me.
OK, show of hands. How many of you, given that set of circumstances (and remember, I had to shop in a limited amount of time so I could be back on the 140 mile trek east bound to pick up AB and WG by the 3:30 bell) would have remembered to #1 - organize your coupons according to the lay out of a store you've never been in and #2 - remembered to bring a clip board and #3 - even if you remembered your clip board would have remembered to snag it in the 10 second impromptu car-switch just as you are about to leave for the grocery store?
yes, well, now it's in clinical notes that this is how i've failed and what I need to do in the future. Oh, and the tag thing? I wear a name tag nearly EVERY DAY now because I'm either at the school volunteering or at some meeting for Sissy. It's a miracle I remember to remove the dang things before I launder my shirts and ruin them! And why did the therapist mention the tag in the first place? Because a nosy customer overheard me showing Sissy how to read a coupon and locate the proper item so he remarked that I was being a good parent for not only teaching her how to shop at such a young age, but that I was teaching her how to save money. Then on the heels of praise from a stranger, correction from the therapist.
I didn't panic on the way home - took my tabs every 30 minutes, took a coffee break, arranged with The Dad that he would pick up AB and WG so I didn't have to face the time squeeze and got home in time for a clenched up belly, severe bloating and gas, extreme fatigue and lethargy, took a phenergen and went to bed after watching Jane Eyre. Then I slept almost all of today until I had to go to the school to observe AB because his teachers have really been complaining about his classroom behavior lately. As if I didn't have enough to contend with.
I'm not looking forward to Friday when I (or The Dad) go get her. I'm not looking forward to her tantruming because we designated this coming weekend as yard weekend several weeks ago and it needs to stay that way because there's winter prepping and Christmas decoration prepping and Thanksgiving and and and ... I'm not looking forward to her yammering. I'm not looking forward to the bickering between siblings. I'm not looking forward to the disrespectful attitude. I'm not looking forward to putting the alarm back on at night after four months without it. I'm not looking forward to the grilling from the therapy team when she returns Sunday night so I'm also not looking forward to the road trip to take her back.
I know the quilting will relieve my stress but I'm so stressed, I can't move. Can't think. Can't. I just can't. And that pisses me off. I'M not better. I'M not ready for Sissy to be home. But there is no concern for us, never has been. Sissy's the identified patient, her needs are paramount and even though I drove 140 miles one way to go grocery shopping for non-perishable items with a psych patient that hasn't been in a grocery store in four months, I erred because I had no clip board or pen and my coupons were not tidy.
Crap on a cracker. Someone come tidy my *bleeping* coupons and surprise me with a dollar store clip board (in purple) with a matching pen that I can keep in my van at all times for the occasional 280 mile round trip grocery shopping excurstions i am prone to make to appease medicaid and therapists. Really, i should be more prepared, *tsk tsk*