Wednesday, September 25, 2013

It's Worth It

Driving home a few weeks ago I received the call that I knew would come, but that I had hoped would not. The fact that a co-worker was sitting in my passenger seat made the call all the more disturbing. You know how it is, we all like to keep our dirty, little secrets to ourselves.

The voice of Girl, very tense and upset, flowed out of the speaker of my cell phone. In the background I could hear KK screaming.


Let me confess right here and now that I was tempted to turn the nose of my car towards the coast and never look back. Of course, co-worker would have been trapped in my escape vehicle, and since she actually likes her family, I decided to abandon my flight to freedom.

My heart was so heavy. Beloved had left just that morning for a three day (yes, a three day!) camping trip with a friend. He abandoned me with the monkeys. I may never forgive him.

As I closed in on the last mile of my drive home I could feel a panic attack welling up inside of me. I have never experience a panic attack but know the symptoms since my mother is prone to them. As my mind raced for a solution to the problem that I was about to walk into, a still small voice reminded me that I wasn't alone in this war.

I quickly phoned a close friend (on my hands free device, of course) and asked her to pray, "All hell has broken loose at my house! Please pray!" I sobbed.

In a moment, I felt a peace wash over me. As I pulled into the driveway I was calm. I prayed that God would keep me calm and give me wisdom to face the monsters lurking in my house.

For the next hour and a half I quietly spoke with KK. I explained that family, a good family, does not treat each other the way she has been treating Girl. That family forgives. I asked if she felt our family was worth fighting for and she replied, from under her blanket, that it was not.

"Really? We are not worth fighting for?" I countered.

"No..." she muttered, defiance dripping from her lips.

I sat down on the side of her bed and pulled the blanket from her face. Cupping her face in my hands, tears running down my face, I told her that I loved her. 

I love your freckles.
I love your bad attitude.
I love the color of your eyes and your laughter.
I love your stinky feet.
I love your smile.
I love you even if you don't love me.
I love you even if you hate me.
I will love you until the day I die, regardless of how you feel about me.
I love you because I feel that you are worth it.
You will always be worth fighting for.

I slowly stood up, her eyes never leaving mine. I told her to take a few minutes to pull herself together and then she was to come out and join the family. KK said she didn't want to and for the first time since she moved into our home I said, 

"I am your mother and am I telling you to pull yourself together and come join the family."

Then I turned and left the room. I wondered if she would do as I requested. Let's face it, I cannot truly make her do anything. We both know that I am not legally her mother. She is so stubborn. Would my calm instructions get through to her defiant heart?

Fifteen minutes later I heard her rattling around in the kitchen. I walked into the room and asked if she would like some dinner. The rest of the evening passed quietly and while she refused to make eye contact with Girl, I feel that I won a battle that night.

Days have passed since that scary evening and things have settled into a normal routine. We made some changes so that Girl is never left alone with KK. It's a struggle, but this plan keeps the gates of hell firmly closed and no one gets their feelings hurt.

Of course, this means that Beloved and I have no down time. None. It's hard and we are weary.

When I told KK that we had to cancel a dinner date because I cannot leave her alone and that I have to hire someone to "babysit" her. She was annoyed. She became incredulous when I told her that she would be paying a portion of the sitter fee...since she is the problem.

KK made a lot of excuses and said, "I don't know why this keeps happening. Everything was fine at D and D's (previous foster family) and then everyone was angry all the time. Now it's happening here! Why does this keep happening!"

I smiled and said, "I know why...It's because for thirteen years, people who were supposed to love you unconditionally, who were supposed to care for you, who were supposed to be there for you, failed. Your mom, your dad, your older siblings, your grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles, they all failed you. When you lived with D and D you experienced something you had never had before: unconditional love and acceptance. It scared the daylights out of you. So, you pushed them away with your anger and your defiance. You said horrible things and acted out. You refused their love because you were scared.

And now it's happening again..." I paused and let me words hang in the air between us.

KK rolled into a tight ball and pulled her an afghan around her body until I could only see her blue eyes.

"I get it," I said. "I understand that this is scary and you feel so out-of-control. I get that you have feelings for us but that you don't want to. It's okay."

"How do you know this!" she demanded, her eyes flashing with suppressed emotions.

I explained to my poor, little lost girl, that she is not alone in this pool of despair. There are hundreds of thousands of foster children in America; all hurting, all afraid, many unloved. I told her that I know people who were abused and neglected as children and how I've watched them struggle into adulthood with no sense of unconditional love and affection.

"Our job is to love you. We will help you learn to trust and maybe some day you will learn to love."

She pulled the blanket down, under her chin and watched me carefully.

"So, I asked you a couple of weeks ago if our family is worth fighting for. You said it wasn't. Do you still feel this way?"

All of these struggles, these fights, these misunderstandings, and the hurting, angry, bitter words rush, flow and crash around us as if they are drops of water bonding together to form a mighty river. This bridge building work is dangerous. There are no guarantees.

Will she completely rebel?
Will she physically attack one of us?

Or, will she learn to love.

"Are we worth it?" I repeated.

"Yes," she whispered.


Anonymous said...

Wow. I am not very good at putting my thoughts into writing, but I will try. :) What an amazing journey you are all on. I just want you to know that I love you all and keep you in my prayers!


Steph (P.S. It was so great to catch up the other day!)

Island Rider said...

Yeah! A victory in the midst of the war! It won't be the last either! Praise God. Praying particularly for Girl. This was all her idea, but I know it is harder than she thought it would be.