For the first time in a lot of years I am living near family. For the first time ever I am living near family with children. I'm sure by now they think I'm crazy. Most likely the words bonkers and cuckoo have been said. After all, we've been here two days.
Now don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my family. It's just that the girls and I can be a little hard to understand. There are certain things we do that may seem strange or different to others, but they work for us.
Why am I willing to go so strongly against the tide and come across as wacky? For my kids, of course! One thing that is hard for others to understand in the beginning is why I keep such a close eye on the new one. Couldn't I ease up just a little bit? Is it really necessary to keep her with me or one of her older sisters at all times? Can't she just be a kid?
No, she can't. Oh, how I wish she could! But, she can't. One day she will, but that day isn't here yet and since my other alternative would be hurtful to her, I'll just keep my eagle eyes and ears turned her way, forever looking like a crazy, overbearing mom. That's okay. I don't mind. I try to keep the end in sight and overlook the part of the process that keeps others guessing about my sanity.
Just know that I understand how all this must look. Know that I understand you only get to see a part and sometimes that part is confusing. Know that I'm not living in an alternate reality where everyone understands what it's like to raise a traumatized child and agrees with what I do or how I do it. I'm crazy, but not that crazy.
So why does my process look so confining? It's for the new one's protection. It's all for her good. Who she is when she first comes is not who she will be two years later. I strive to protect her from not only harming others, but also to protect her from building a reputation she will later have trouble shaking. After all, no one wants to be "the inappropriate kid," "the class thief," or "the kid with the foul mouth." Keeping her close to me and watching her like a hawk will help lessen the impact she can make in the first two years. After that, she will have built up some self-control and will know that her words and actions affect others. She won't be perfect. She will fall. But she'll be far less likely to do permanent damage to the relationships that she will have for the rest of her life.
Her sisters are a different story. They've been in her shoes. They know what those first two years are like. They understand that who she is now is not who she will eventually be. They overlook all the mess and see what will be. I think they have a very unique perspective. One that is helpful to Amy right now. I love that about them!