One thing that surprised me when Ashley, my second adoption, or Amy, my third, showed up, was how far the one before had come without me realizing it.
I would say my intensity is equivalent to that of the sun. It shines brightly for years on the new one as I help her and guide her and learn to love her the way she needs to be loved.
Then another one comes. My focus changes. The new one gets my attention.
And I'm able to take a good look at the one who came before.
Do you know what I find?
Progress. A lot of it.
When I took a step back I was able to see how far Ashley had come. It was far. Lightyears away from where she had started.
At this point the new one is looking kinda rough, but that other one is shining pretty bright. It's a strange kind of feeling watching one of your kids grow overnight like that.
When Amy came, Ashley really stepped up her game. She probably had it in her for a while, I just couldn't see it because I was still so focused. It's as if I wasn't getting the whole picture. I was too close. I needed to step back.
Amy shifted my attention and Ashley started to shine on her own. I try to remember that and take a step back every now and again to see the progress Amy has made. Otherwise, I miss it and lose the opportunity to celebrate the small successes. I can easily get wrapped up in moving forward and forget to look back at how far she's come.
Starting at the beginning again is a little daunting. You look at the one who came before and then you look at the new one. And you sigh. Because the new one looks like a whole lot of work.
And she is.
But that's okay. Because she's worth it.