Thursday, November 27, 2008

19001 Reasons are all in the Details Baby

Thank You. Thank you for the comments, for the emails, for the facebook messages, for the IRL moments when someone I had no idea was reading here lets me know they are.

I cannot believe that 19000 and one hits later people still bother coming back. People from all over. People from small towns across Canada and the USA that I have never even heard of. People from countries I wasn't really sure had the Internet yet. People with a connection to adoption. People with no connection to adoption. Friends. Family. Strangers. Heck, I even have a crazy stalker or two.

Fair warning, nothing I say is really all that interesting. I am not really that funny nor do I have any great insight. Of course, my kids ARE quite extraordinary, but I am their mom and I am supposed to think that.

I ramble. I offer stories of my life and of my family. Thank you for reading. Thank you for coming back to read some more.

Back to regularly scheduled ramblings.

We are told, as parents, that our children process important life facts at every stage of development. We might explain adoption to our two year old, but explain again in greater detail when they are five, and the conversation continues when they are 9, 11, 13, 16 as their understanding and maturity continues.

Our youngest son experienced a season of great grief this spring over the loss of Baby J. Just when the rest of us were pulling ourselves together (finally!), he was crying daily over her. Missing her. Talking about her. 17 months after she had moved on, he was in the depths of horrible grief and it made little sense to me.

In a brilliant parenting moment (DUH!) I realized that the understanding of a 7 year old was very different than the understanding of a 5 year old and he needed to understand NOW why she was gone THEN. We had a conversation explaining the details of the experience again, and we realized the depth of his misunderstandings and confusion over the experience. His new maturity made the details not make sense and he needed to re-hear them in order to make sense of what he had gone through. Once he did, his grief and fear resolved (at least for now).

Last night I had a similar conversation with my oldest son. Out of the blue he asked about his biological father's incarceration. We have told him the details of it before, in fact many times we have talked about it. We have even visited him at the prison this year and Greg asked him then directly.

But again, seemingly out of the blue after not mentioning it in months, he wanted to know the reasons, the length of sentence, the long term consequences. This time I shared more details, as I know them, of why he ended up in jail this time. He wanted to know, and let me discuss with him, the original reasons why his first father chose, or fell into, a life of crime. We were able to talk about poverty, addiction, teenage pregnancy, gangs, absent fathers and how that affects children. I was thankful for the conversation we had had last summer in prison when his father looked into his eyes and encouraged Greg to make different choices.

And I am thankful I have had the courage to share with my kids, no matter what situation, the honest truth. Its not easy to explain to a child, especially a young child, that the person whose name they share and the person whom they most resemble in the world made some horrible choices that affected many other people. Its not easy to balance that with establishing a relationship based on respect and love for that very person. Its not easy to explain to a grieving child that there are some things in life even mommy can't fix.

BUT it would have been far, far worse to lie.

Honesty in age appropriate doses, even about difficult details, has been our key. I am thankful somewhere along the line, I realized that protecting my kids from the hard stuff would do them no good in the long run.

1 comment:

Vanessa said...

I think it's important to share any information we have with our children too! Sometimes it's not so easy and the details are not always great news but when they know the truth they seem to make their own sense of it! I'm glad your words have helped!!