26 January 2012
to have and to (up)hold.
they probably warned us, those adoption classes and books and seasoned parents. they probably slapped it out plain as day and i, relentlessly starry-eyed, chose to believe we'd be the exception to the rule.
but here it is, staring me straight in the eyeballs: adopting a child can launch a unilateral, full-scale assault on your marriage.
first off, let me underline the word can. every child is different, every family is different, and i certainly know quite a few adoptive families who have flourished from the get-go.
but sometimes, the goings are rough. you're weaving about after eons of sleep deprivation, deaf in one ear from a child who knows his way around a tantrum. your patience has been pancaked by a mack truck driven by a kid too short to see out the windshield, and you can't even closet yourself in the bathroom for a gulp of sanity because the door stopped fully closing months ago.
the easiest thing to do, in times like these, is unleash a steaming load of ugly on the nearest Person Who Can Take It, most likely your so-called beloved. the hardest thing to do, but also the verybest thing, is cling to that spouse for dear life, spell out every last thing you love about him, give him an evening off from all that claws for his attention.
todd and i have weathered a few thorny patches in the last half year. at times we were snared by our son's triangulation, and it seemed nothing was working and the universe was going to pot and it very much looked like the other parent's fault.
but after a few of those patches we got honest. we shucked the excuses and the pride and just showed up, a smear of vulnerability. and we learned, and keep learning, the fine art of hearing. affirming. of aching together and not knowing a single answer but gripping close a God who doesn't fail.
i am sure we have miles of growth in store. and i am certain there are veritable forests of thorns ahead. but i also know that i've never been so in love with my husband. and so clearly that was never the point of this adoption, but oh, what a tender off-shoot.
it's a gift, this waking up each morning to a life with you in it. i'm overwhelmed.
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come to em's place for more imperfect prose.