Friday, October 18, 2013

1 year mark - finding our place and keeping our head in the game

The word "soccer" is used in our home numerous times a day.  Our family lives and breathes soccer.  Within this past year, I have spent half of my life at the soccer field watching and cheering my boys at their games.  There is not one day/night of the week where a soccer ball is not moving around me. I am surrounded by soccer. 
I'll admit, it gets weary dragging the cooler full of lunches/snacks, water bottles, umbrellas, blankets and chairs from one game to another... but I do it because I want to be there for my kids.

Nothing drives me more crazy than when one of our boys loses his position or forgets to mark his opponent. All I can hear is my dear husband in sync with their coaches..." FIND YOUR POSITION!!!"

And that's when I cover my eyes because it literally terrifies me to watch my child's team get defeated because he or another player lost their position. 

Before a game, the coach assigns each player their position with the understanding that their players know what is expected of them.
Soccer is a team game and everyone should be expected to cover all parts of the field to prevent their opposing team from scoring a goal.

Nothing describes our family as well as the game of soccer.
In addition to the behavioral challenges and attachment struggles, this past year has been all about our children finding their place of belonging and adopting us as their parents.  We have been consistently reminding our children where they belong and who they belong to.  As a result of our children's disrespect and resistance to accept me as their mother, I often feel "disqualified" to be their mom.  Then again, attachment cannot happen until my children understand where they belong, who they are and who they belong to.
For the past 12 months, I have felt like a basket case of emotions.  Every morning I drag myself out of bed and cheer myself on... " You can do this Chris! Yes you can!" 
As much of a lunatic as I often feel I am, I am hopeful for the day that we will see healing progress.
Through all the thick layers of fog of confusion and pain, THERE ARE rare moments where we get to see signs of healing as our children begin to accept us.

There is a lot of grief in acceptance.  When we accept and adopt something new, we are forced to say "good-bye" to the past. 

Each one of our children walk a different journey.  As our children settle into our family, none of them will feel, communicate or display the same emotions. As one child begins attaching, another will detach. 

A couple weeks ago, after grueling conversations... our eldest son told us that he didn't want to be part of our family anymore. He wanted to "shop" for a new set of parents. After spending some intense vacation time with extended family, he suddenly got confused.  He detached himself from us and began to behave carelessly.  As in the game of soccer, our son lost his position. Without warning, he removed himself from the game. Every day, he needs his coach (dad) and referee (mom) to remind him where his position on the field is and that he has no choice but to play with this team that God has chosen for him. 
As a result, if has often felt like our kids are constantly scrambling to try and find their position with hopes of covering for our son's position. 

Unfortunately, our 3 year old daughter seems to lose her position quite frequently or perhaps she hasn't found it yet. Every time a stranger/friend gives her the slightest attention or acknowledges "her cuteness," it consequently leaves her feeling lost and results in defiance. Somehow it pushes her out of position and she forgets who/where she belongs to. It has frustrated me to the point where I have had to boldly ask others to "PLEASE refrain from giving her attention." 

Our 8 year old son who plays club soccer often struggles with keeping his head in the game, staying in his position and finding confidence in his skill and ability. 
This past year of adding 4 new siblings to our family completely shoved him out of birth order and placed him in a state of confusion. Watching his coach speak confidence and belief through my son has moved me to tears as I see my son gradually regaining strength and experience healing. His coach has become a safe person that consistently reminds him how to stay focused and keep his position.

I hope for the day where I can become that "safe voice" to my children.

Win or lose, we made it past the one year mark. 
None of us did it perfectly... but perhaps all the trials, resistance and battles improved our game and has made us to be a stronger team than last year. 
I can only hope and pray that my kids decide soon enough to stay in their position and keep their head in the game. 
  • "I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion."
    -- Mia Hamm