Yolie's World

Friday, December 30, 2005

As always...CJ

Friday, December 23, 2005

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Christmas Craziness

Mom's been having a heck of a time with my younger sibs here at Christmastime (as usual). People may wonder why kids like us decide to act out during holidays. After all, aren't we being given the best Christmas we've ever had? Of course we are, and to a "normal" person's eye it would seem that we'd be grateful and joyous. But, the truth is we are too often not. While our new family goes above and beyond to make our Christmas wonderful, another family haunts our thoughts. The family who seemed to go above and beyond to make sure we had no fond memories of Christmas lurks in the back of our minds. When I was young, Christmas meant nothing more than another excuse for my birth mom to get hung over and forget about us. The domestic violence I witnessed seemed to grow during the holidays and I can remember going to school praying that nobody would find out that I had had no Christmas, wishing that I could brag about what my wonderful mom had bought me and wondering what all the kids were smiling about. When we made little homemade Christmas gifts for our parents at school, I knew that I would hand it to my birth mom hoping she would see how much I loved her and then she would get clean and take care of us. But, instead, my little clay ornaments usually ended up being thrown at someone during a fight. Then, when I was eleven, I had my first Christmas with my new adoptive family. Everyone is smiling, and Mom went out of her way to give us a great Christmas. Trouble was, I was profoundly sad over spending Christmas with people I had only known for three months. I was supposed to smile and be grateful and participate in holiday rituals I had never been a part of, simple things like decorating the tree and opening gifts on Christmas morning all brought the blanket of sadness farther over my heart. I missed my foster mom and everything I had ever known I had lost (except for my two brothers who were THE most important people in my life). I worried that if I became comfortable and actually enjoyed this Christmas I'd only be let down the next year when I had to spend it with another family. See, I didn't get the whole forever family thing. As the years went on, I slowly began to relaize that I could enjoy Christmas and Easter and Thanksgiving and all the other holidays, because this family was for real. A hint of sadness still creeps in during the holdiays, as I think of the Christmases lost to drugs and alcohol, but now it's more of a passing thought, not a dwelling on what could have been. But, my yougner sibligns are not there yet. They act out because they do not know how to deal with the war raging in thier heads. My prayer is that soon they can experience the holidays without the anxiety and sadness I know they are experiencing. For now, though, I am grateful for a Mother who works her butt off to ensure that happy memories are made. Without her I'd still cry on Christmas Day.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Ghost of Christmas Past

My mom has written about how hard Christmas is for children who have come out of childhoods filled with abuse and neglect. Hard is one word, haunting is another. Every year on Christmas Day I think about my birth family, if only for a second. When I was younger, the thoughts lasted longer and made me sadder. I wondered if my birth family even threw a thought my way. Did they wonder if I was happy and having a good Christmas? Did they miss me? Were they having a decent Christmas? Sadness over not having my other sibs to spend Christmas with, coupled with what we call "survivor guilt" set in alot. It is hard to enjoy Christmas with such thoughts running through your head, especially when you're only twelve. While most kids reminisce about last Christmas and how much fun they had, the best Christmas memory I could muster up at age twelve was when our foster mom took us to the Christmas party put on by the military base in El Paso, where soldiers handed us toys from the local Toys for Tots drives. Today, I probably go over board with Christmas. I make sure I decorate my whole house, probably in an attempt to somehow "make up" for for all the Christmases that I spent wondering if my birth mother would wake up (she was of course, hung over), much less if we;d get any presents. I remember once she did take us to the local shelter where they were passing out out free Christmas dinners. Come to think of it, it wasn't her that took us, it was her boyfriend. So, yes, Christmas is difficult for children who have pasts like me. It's the Ghost of Christmas Past and no matter how far we try to run from it, it somehow finds us every year.

Monday, December 05, 2005

My Armpit Baby

CJ and Aunt Lena (now officially his first crush I think)
CJ with Mama
I officially know what an "armpit baby" is. For the past two nights, CJ has insisted on sleeping with the back of his head literally in my armpit. It's as if he can't get close enough to me. He nudges and pushes his head into my armpit all night. I think if he could magically re-enter my belly he'd be happy to sleep there (as long as he could come out and play with Daddy every morning!). At least he's getting some good sleep.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Babysitting Notes

Sorry for the delay in blogging recently, I've been pretty busy. CJ is teething, which means he's been very clingy and not really letting me do much other than hold him, rock him, kiss him and give him Tylenol. Poor baby, it must be hard growing teefers. Right now he is rocking in his swing and I'm babysitting Tabby and Nando while Mom goes to a meeting. They are so cute and yet so high maintenance. They need constant reassurance that Mom is coming back and that they will not be left here. Mom told me she left diapers and wipes, but that I probably wouldn't need them while she was gone. Tabby has pooped twice already (you owe me Mom). I really believe that it's because she's stressed out over Mom not being here. Her routine has been messed with today and that is not good. Of course, they know me and know I'll take good care of them, but they do not know that Mom is going to come back for them. They've had so many caregivers in their short lives that being dropped off somewhere with a bag full of diapers, wipes and snacks signals it's time to say goodbye to this mommy. It's so sad when you think about it. Three and four year olds should not have to worry about such things. Now that I'm a mom myself and am watching CJ develop all his trust and attachment skills and it highlights even more how kids who have been in care just don't get it. CJ is only five months old and this morning he started crying when I was out of his sight (I was putting something in the sink). The look of relief that came over him when he saw me again (two seconds later) was so cute. Now, think about all the kids (I was one of them) who get used to nobody caring when they cry about something. While CJ is learning that I will come when he needs me, Nando and Tabby must unlearn that nobody will come. They must learn to expect someone to care for them, rather than expect no one to bother. They must learn that when Mom goes somewhere she will come back. But the process of learning these things is difficult. While it is very hard for them to be left here with me (which has only happened twice), it is also good for them to see Mom go and come back. They have to learn that she will do what she says. She will be back in a little while and they will go home and she will cook beans for tacos tonight, which they will eat before going to bed in their own beds. Simple enough, huh? Tell that to the scared, deer caught in the headlights babies sitting here staring at me while I type.