I have been trying to write this post for awhile now with very little success. Lots of interuptions, from kids, from life and I find that the words I manage to put down are not accurately reflecting how I feel. But the house is quiet tonight. Rob is off to Youth Choir and Youth Group, the littles are abed, Chet is watching a movie. We are all tired after a day seeing the musical version of Mary Poppins, but a few stolen writing moments can not be wasted!
What I have been pondering about lately is how long it can take children of trauma to feel safe. Deep down safe. Rob has been my son for 11 years now. I think we are just about there. This is the first year that he has not wanted to come with me on every single errand, no matter how boring or mundane. How many 16 year olds typically want to go get gas? Go to Walgreens, etc? Not that I ever mind the company or companionship. But by the time I was 9, I was staying home alone while my parents drove the 30 minutes from our house to the grocery store, did the shopping and came home.
But I grew up safe. I grew up knowing that my parents were not going to let me down. They might disappoint me, but I always knew I was safe. That I had a roof over my head. That i had food in my belly, even if it wasn't food I loved etc. I was not afraid that I would hear wild arguments at night, the police never visited, life was predictable.
What I have seen is that when that predictable is missing in those key years, it takes a loooooong time to overcome it. To show that no, no matter how long you wait, you are not going to come in from playing and find me sucking back a "40." (incidently I never knew what those were until my then 5 year old son asked me where they were in the house.)
I once had a social worker tell me it would take at as many years in our home as he had in his first home before he would begin to trust us. Maybe. Personally I think it was a lot longer. I think he wanted to trust us, but was always holding back some little part of himself. Waiting for me to show that I could not be trusted. That I would forget him at the ballfield. That there would be no breakfast when he came downstairs in the morning.
And then when those things didn't happen, I think the next step was something like love tinged with desperation, because there was still not trust. Thus, he wanted to come everywhere, all the time. Which truly was fine by me. I tend to haul everyone with me most times unless you convince me you would rather do something else and have a safe plan for it. But he had no interest in staying home alone, or even with Chet here.
********* editing time!************
Apparently blogger ate the last of my post and I hadn't checked back till now due to having the migraine from h*ll this past week. Now I look and geez Louise, 1/2 of the post has gone missing. I have attempted to sum up what I was driving at as hanging posts that go no-where bug me. However I really am an off the cuff writer and I know I had a lot more to say than that! LOL Now I return you to the regularly scheduled closing paragraph. . .
Yet now, I am seeing that patience and predictability are bearing fruit. He is willing to stay home alone on occasion. He is beginning to positively envision a life beyond this home and actually making plans for how to make the dream a reality. He helps with cooking these days, not just for himself, but also for his siblings. There is just more of an assurance about him these days that fills me with hope for the young man that he is becoming.