Friday, October 7, 2011

The Fear That Runs Deep

I have observed a couple of things in my relationship with George lately. These things used to drive me crazy, but now, I understand.

George tends to get angry very easily. When he gets angry, he sulks away, usually doing this Ethiopian cry/whine type thing. Needless to say, it totally grates on our nerves. He tries to engage in an argument and I am learning to not go there. I have learned to stay calm, state my case, and then say, "I am done talking about this until you calm down."

We have implemented grounding lately. No more yelling. No more spankings. George now gets grounded to his room. The door can stay open, and he can listen to music or play with his toys, and he can sit in the window and watch what is going on outside...but he must stay in his room. So far.....(huge so far!)....this is "working".

Some times, grounding won't work....like when we are walking to the school bus, or when everyone is going to bed and essentially "grounded" to their rooms anyway. I have noticed that when George is angry with me, he will hang on to that anger for as long as he can. He will do everything he can to make me KNOW that he is angry with me.

Now, for the record, ALL my kids get angry with me. Yes, I am THAT type of mom who sometimes says things the way they are, and a mom who does not treat all 6 kids FAIRLY (not all will get dessert - just those that finish their dinner type of mom). I speak honestly with my children and I let them know what I expect out of them. Sometimes, they don't like that. And they get angry.

When the others get angry, they very easily fall asleep or get on the school bus. But...NOT GEORGE....

I have noticed that George WILL hang on to the anger for as long as he possibly can. Typically, he will climb out of bed after the house gets quiet and tip-toe into my room and say, "I'm sorry, Momma." We reconcile, we hug and George skips off to bed with a smile on his face. This scenario happens over and over and over and over again. I am so used to it I can almost predict to the minute when he will be coming down the stairs.

Well, this morning, something finally dawned on me. This morning, as I was helping Lincoln with his shoes, I sighed and said out loud, "Buddy, you really need some new shoes."

Anna piped in, "Me too, Mommy!"

"Yes, sweetie. You do, too."

"Mom, I could really use a new pair of tennis shoes for volleyball," said Isabel

Another big sigh. "OK. You are right. I will run out to the store today and get you three some new shoes because you really need them."

At this point, George lets us all know how upset he is by his HUGE whine.

"George, I know how important shoes are to you. I know you want to make sure you always have shoes and never want to be without them again. But, can you tell me how many shoes you have right now in your closet?'

He counts in his head meticulously.

"12", he answers. Now, for the record, I think a child having 12 pairs of shoes is ridiculous. But, George needs to have shoes in every room and be able to change his shoes every day in order to feel secure. He has been focused on shoes since the day we picked him up. He would stop on the streets of Addis Ababa when he saw a pair of shoes for sale. He would plant himself and refuse to move. At night, he would cry and scream when we would take his shoes off of him when it was time to crawl into bed. He has purposefully ripped his shoes just to be sure he would get a new pair (I hope this trend is slowly being broken!). And remember the HORRIFIC airport scene? Yup...SHOES...at the center of it all!

I try to talk to him about how he could wear a different pair of shoes each day of the week and STILL have 5 more pair to wear the next week before finally putting on a pair for the 2nd time.

No help.

He is angry. No, he is furious. He just can't get over the fact that he is not going to get a new pair of shoes today.

He walks all the way to the bus ANGRY. He walks about 10 paces in front of us. He refuses to sit with us on the curb as we wait. He won't even look at the rest of us as we talk.

But then the bus comes.

Suddenly, he races over to me, wrapping his arms around me and says, "I am sorry, Momma! I love you so much ."

And I get it....he wants to...no....NEEDS to....reconcile before there is any separation between us. The fear that runs deep in his little heart is that we will never be reconciled. His fear is that this anger will forever separate us. And no matter how angry he is with me...he needs to know I love him before he leaves my presence in any way.

And I wondered...was he angry when his Africa Mommy left him? Had he been pouting? Had he been angry? Did he say something mean to her?

And then....he never had the chance to say he was sorry or say he really DID love her.

Imagine that. Loving someone so dearly and suddenly never having the chance to tell them you love them? I can only imagine how that regret and pain run so deeply in a child.

Separated from the one he loved. And then, left in an orphanage. Then taken by strange ferenji who looked nothing like him and spoke a language he had never heard.

It breaks my heart to think of the fear that runs so deep in his little heart.

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