Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Kids Can Heal - Sometimes

Yesterday, my "little girl" turned 10.  We had a great day.  We started with breakfast in bed, which is a family tradition.  She received a few small gifts (and I mean few and small) then off to school she went.  This year she elected for forgo the regular party in return for a night out to dinner with Mom & Dad - not McDonald's.  We went to a Japanese Steakhouse and had a great time.  A bit of shopping afterward (Daddy's a big sucker for the little girl) and then home to bed.

Now, rewind the clock 5 years, and this would not have been the case. First of all, she wasn't our daughter.  She was living with a wonderful family, but she didn't want to be there and was making this quite clear.  Between the screaming 8 - 10 hours a day and the trying to choke her older brother, the clues were not subtle.  This kid was not happy and she didn't care who knew it.  It wasn't the fault of the family!  Let me make that perfectly clear.  They did everything in their power to help her, but she wasn't having any of it.  Social services made bad choices in this little girl's life that set this family up to fail.

When she moved into our home, she made a CHOICE to change her life.  Yes, at 5 years old she made the choice.  Think of all the people in your life.  I'm sure there are a few of them that you hope and pray will make changes in their life and turn things around but you know it has to be their choice.  It's the same with our kids.  They have to CHOOSE to receive the love we offer and to make their life good.  If they choose to stay stuck in the same negative patterns, they're going to get what they always got.  For many of our kids, they prefer the chaos and the emotions they know.  Putting their necks out and risking feelings they're not familiar with, well that's just too scary so don't even go there.

The kid I have is funny, smiley, laughs all the time, loves life, and overall is fun to be around - most of the time.  She is a 10 year old girl entering puberty after all.  I am glad, for her, that she made the choice.

However, for all the good things, my husband and I reflected upon a few things.  Our son would never be happy with what we did for our daughter.  It always has to be big and grand.  No matter how hard we tried, we were never able to please him.  He always wanted more from us, and it was always about what was in it for him.  Last night when we asked our daughter if she was happy with her choice of dinner over a party she said, "Yes, I get to spend time with Mom & Dad being a family.  That's the best."  Those words would never pass our son's lips.

The other issue is that our son has no idea it's his sister's birthday.  She has grown used to the fact that he doesn't acknowledge these events for anyone in the family, so didn't expect him to call or send a card, nor does she care.  This is not for lack of trying on my part - again, my effort.  At the beginning of the year, I gave him a planner with everyone's birthdays and anniversaries in it.  He has chosen to ignore them.  There is nothing it for him.  It would involve an emotional investment and he doesn't do that. I could call and tell him it's his sister's birthday and he needs to call her, but really, what's the point?  Why make him call her and tell her Happy Birthday when he really doesn't mean it?  Will that make her feel better?  Nope.  She was fine with her day exactly as it was.

So, while we celebrate the wonderful daughter that we have, we have a certain amount of heartbreak for all the love we have given our son that he so easily rejects.

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