Ashebir is now 4 ½ years old - Most days we feel like we’re making progress, some days we don’t. It'll be a year next week (2/23) that he's been home with us and even though he understands MOST of what you ask of him, there are still things he doesn't quite get yet. That said, he's been through a lot in his young life and even though his whole self is weaving intricately and intimately into our lives - his confusions, fears and inhibitions still surface. They manifest in hits, bullying, shrieks, random flying objects, screams, etc. The truth is that inappropriate behavior... is inappropriate behavior... but it's not easy some days to balance patience, grace responsibility and genuine love. I (Amy and I) NEVER want to discipline out of frustration or just give in to an important “battle” that I (We) shouldn’t because it feels easier in the moment… but to be honest, he’s exhausting sometimes. Further more, this doesn’t feel as valiant as some make it out to be sometimes.
We have to choose to love him… to pursue him. To chase after his heart and to embrace ALL of him… his entire mess. He didn’t cause it but he’s responding to it… I often wish it would manifest as a practical, and thoughtful discussion.. and just maybe it would go something like this:
“Dad, do you have a minute?” … Sure Ash, what is it?
Well Dad, I just feel like life is out of control for me… I’m scared, I’m anxious, I’m frustrated, I don’t always understand what you and Mommy expect of me or how to explain what I want sometimes. I feel like there’ s this big hole inside and it hurts… I notice the pain some days more than others, but it still makes me feel bad. I think I’m still afraid that my family will disappear some day when I least expect it… or that I’ll have to move somewhere else for some reason. I don’t know how to explain it really… I know you and Mom love me, but some days I’m not sure I FEEL the same way about our family that Kenni Sasha and TK do.
I’m angry. I’m angry because I don’t really understand why I’ve lived in so many homes with different people who tell me what to do. Who do I trust?!
I feel like I just started to get to know the kids in the other house before I came to live here with our family. I was just beginning to understand the talk around me when I lived with all the other kids - but even that was different than where I lived before that… and now there are even more new things – I’m just beginning to get the hang of this.
Small things that are out of place bother me. I like things to be in their place, but I don’t like anyone else to tell me to tell me where to put the things I have.
I don’t like animals that I can’t step on, or that aren’t behind thick glass. Maybe it’s because an animal scared me before, I don’t really remember.
I hate sharing too. Ok, so I’m getting better at it, but… I don’t want to give up something I have control of. It’s getting a little easier for me, but I don’t like it when I have to leave home to go somewhere else and when I’m somewhere else, I don’t like to leave there either.
I’m jealous of TK sometimes too… especially when he comes up with some random game to play – When I am finally convinced to play, I don’t want him to play… HIS own game! (Yeah, I don’t get it either.) Or.. when he picks up a toy I haven’t played with for a while and he starts playing with it - I want it and it makes me mad when I can’t have it. I think I’m beginning to understand that I can play with it later but I still have a hard time with it.
Sometimes I feel left out.
Sometimes I just get so mad that I scream as loud as I can and try to kick, bite and even spit. But those times… even though I don’t mean to hurt you or Mommy or my teachers -I’ve just reached a point that I don’t know what else to do. Maybe it’s that I don’t understand that you and Mommy are trying to help me the best way you know how… and I just don’t get it yet.
I love my Teachers and my classmates a lot, but seriously… sometimes I don’t really care what number comes after 6… 7… or 8! It doesn’t matter to me if “the car” is “blue or red,” or if “the chair” is “green or brown,” or if the picture is of a “bird” or a “tiger.”
And speaking of school days! - When I come home from school, I think the difference in routine disrupts me. Don’t get me wrong, I love my school, we have so much fun there and my teacher there has helped me maybe even more than she knows … but It’s still hard changing from being at school to returning home where I don’t have the same structured environment. So when I get home, sometimes all I want to do is beat up TK, eat bread and butter or watch Remember the Titans.
The other night when I was screaming and yelling because I wanted all six saltines left in the cracker sleeve, and you said I could only have two at a time – I just get really frustrated with things like that… When I can’t explain exactly what I want or when I don’t understand why I can’t have what I want.
But Daddy... I want to trust you, I just need your help to do that.
I know you love me Daddy… Is it hard to love me sometimes?
I want to be loved by you so desperately Daddy… I want Mommy to love me too! I just don’t know how to always act lovingly. But… I like to pray with you and TK at night and thank God for our Family. I love my warm bed and my special blanket from Great Gramma Zipf. I wouldn’t know what to do without it.
I like trucks and reading books. I like building things with legos, I like coloring, scissors and glue and I like to show you and Mommy what I make at school or how tall I can build the Lego tower. I like sitting in your lap when we read books. I love Mommy a lot. She takes care of me and let’s me make big messes that I don’t have to clean up right away. She makes great food and she makes sure that I’m safe and gives me lots of kisses… I just pull away after a few of them because I don’t like to sit still very long unless I’m watching a movie I like.
Daddy, Thank you for not giving up on me. Thank you for bringing me home. Please be patient with me… it’ll be worth it. I love you and Mommy very much.