Thursday, February 5, 2015
Not Your Usual Attachment Talk - adoption linkup
I was going to write about something totally different. I had it all planned out. But ironically, I spent most of "Wellness Wednesday" at the doctor's office, then the Emergency Room, then the pharmacy with one of my teenagers. The patient is going to be fine, but it was a long day.
On the way home, my child thanked me. While I appreciate their gratitude, the interchange had echos of the almighty "attachment" for me.
See, in adoption there's this big thing called attachment, and it's such a huge deal that when it doesn't work right, there's a diagnosis for it. RAD is Reactive Attachment Disorder, and it's every adoptive parent's fear. There are activities you can learn to build attachment, there are attachment therapists, and books about attachment. Adoptive parents are taught to be very deliberate in their pursuit of attachment.
But this was my biological child.
So what they said was, "Thanks Mom. You're the real MVP." But what I heard was, "Thank you, Mommy, that you dropped everything for me. That even though I sometimes act goofy and annoying and don't make perfect grades, you still take care of me, even when there are so many other people vying for your time and attention."
Attachment, when lived out in a marriage, or with a biological child, is just plain love. It encompasses acts of service, words of encouragement, hugs and snuggles, and time spent together. It's putting the other person first.
The last year and a half has been really hard on our family, and somewhere along the way the mom I used to be got buried under the overwhelmed mom I've become.
I've drummed into my teens for years that they can always call me, day or night, and I will come get them, no questions asked. I've told them that I would rather have them call me than get into a car with someone who's chemically unsafe to drive or if they're in a situation that just doesn't "feel right."
What they need to know, though, is that I'll always be there for them even when there's *not* a crisis. That I can set aside what I'm doing to focus on them and enjoy them for who they are. These moments are fleeting. I don't have to tell you that. "The days are long, but the years are short" is something parents start hearing as soon as they have a child, however that child enters their family.
I enjoyed my time with my teen yesterday. --It's not how I would have chosen to spend a day with them, but then, I probably wouldn't have set aside a whole day to hang out with them without having this medical issue pop up as a "motivator." Fortunately, it's not a painful condition, and we talked and laughed and were grossed out over the trail of blood we saw on the ER lobby floor together. And that was what made the day special. That we were together.
The thank you on the way home emphasized that I need to be more deliberate about spending time with all of my children. Not just the adopted ones, in the hopes of creating secure attachment, but the bio kids, too. Because with them love is attachment. And love is a verb.
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