Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"You're Not My Mom!"

and other hilarious things my son says...

When I was little, I used to threaten to run away. One afternoon, I did. Well, sort of.  I hid in the hallway of our building.  But my poor parents thought I'd really run away, because I'd opened one of the doors and left it ajar, making it seem as if I'd headed down the city streets.  I sat on the steps outside our doorway, listening to the increasingly frantic, angry calls of my parents.  (Sorry Mom and Dad!)  Eventually, I relented and came inside, still clutching my hastily packed blankie and doll.  I have no memory of why I "ran away".  Probably I was forced to eat broccoli or some other horrible thing.

"I'm going to run away! You'll never see me again, and then you'll be sorry!" was what I screamed in my family's face when I was really, really fed up with their parenting.

My son yells, "You're not my parents!" or "I want to go to Ethiopia!"

You are probably thinking, wow, that must make you feel so hurt and rejected!  Actually, the first time he said it, Andrew and I were proud. Aw, we thought, he's reached an adoption milestone! It was just a few weeks after we'd been home.  And to us, it signaled that Daniel was secure enough in his new family that he could challenge us.  Just as I didn't really want to run away, Daniel doesn't really think we are not his parents.  He does want to go to Ethiopia, but just to visit. (So we do we, but that's another post.)

All children try to manipulate their parents. Adopted kids just have a slightly different store of verbal weapons to work with.   "You're not my real mom," is a classic one.  Aim straight for the heart; right into the guilty, self-conscious anxiety hiding inside us adoptive mommies.  But we were fore-armed! We'd read all the literature, the blogs, the memoirs.  We expected that volly, and we countered with "We've got a whole file of papers that say we are. Now finish that brocolli."

Sometimes, we say "Are you missing Ethiopia right now?"

Sometimes, we say "Are you angry about something?"

Sometimes, we say "Do you need a hug?"

But usually, we say "Yes I am. Now let's finish that homework."

I don't remember if I was punished for "running away." I'm certain that just hearing the frantic calls of my parents and seeing their relieved faces when I emerged from my hiding spot was enough to make me re-think my strategy. Whatever grievance or complaint I had went away once I'd realized that they'd missed me, that they loved me beyond measure.  When Daniel yells, "I want to go back to Ethiopia!" he is testing us.  Do we love him beyond measure? Will we flinch at all? Do we have the same doubts that creep into his mind?

No flinching.  No doubting.  And yes, we love you beyond measure.

1 comment:

  1. Love this post. I recall my own failed attempts at hobo ism. Who knows why. I never even got out the door. My mom held it open for me and I just collapsed. Ah, the testing. Pru and Q have let me know a few times that they don't like me, just before asking to be picked up. Aren't human complexities fun?


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