Last night I actually got to go on a date! With my husband! And no kids! It's been like, forever since that happened.
My in-laws (in town this week) watched the kids, and Keith and I went to dinner at Pei Wei, then to see the movie Pursuit of Happyness, then to Books-A-Million to browse. It was relaxing, and very much needed. We rarely spend time together alone, and I forget that we actually have things to talk about outside of the kids.
Why Robyn needs a night out: If life contained a stress scale of 1 to 10, and the highest level of stress was a 10, then I feel like I operate around a 10 most of the time. I feel stretched thin right now (thin, ha! ha!) (although it will help immensely through January to have Keith home), mostly due to the adjustment of bringing Eva home. Adopting a baby has been so much more [insert your choice: work, stress, adjustment, disruption, heart-breaking] than I thought. As far as adopted babies go, I only know my own, so I don't know how she ranks on the adjustment chart: is she actually an easy baby and I'm crazy? Or do all adopted babies react this same way, and she is right in the middle of the pack? Or is she actually having difficulty adjusting? I don't think it's the latter. I'm thinking she's probably adjusting at about the same rate any 12-month old would who's been through her circumstances. But it's trying. More so than a newborn, yes, I think so. It seems that daily I take an inventory of how much I love her today, compared to yesterday. When my boys were born, I loved them instinctively - they are the sun and the moon and my life. But a better comparison might be my husband. Sure, when we started dating, there were butterflies and fireworks. But that wore off, and then we had to make the concious choice to love each other. We still make that choice daily. I need to make that choice with Eva. She is not unloveable. She is completely loveable (if you've met her, than you know). She is adorable. She is smart. I think in this case, when I say, "it's not you, it's me" - it really is me.
Another reason why perhaps she and I don't get along as well as we could: the mother/daughter dynamic. I've only known how to mother boys. Mothering a daughter is completely different. She knows how to work her daddy - I think she already attempts to pit us against each other (Keith does not agree with this). My mother-in-law was telling us a story of her friend's little girl (adopted) who called her mom "she" - as in, going to her dad and saying, "SHE tried to make me eat my vegetables," or soforth. I can't be SHE. Somehow I need to figure out this dynamic and make it work - figure out how to properly love her and make her feel loved, and how to make myself loveable to her. I think at this time she needs me - she knows I am food and warmth and diaper changes. But does she actually love me? I don't think so, not yet.
Maybe I'm rushing everything - we aren't quite at 6 months home. But I really want this to feel normal, to feel like this is just life, and we aren't living with a stranger. I read an adoptive mom's story last night at Books-A-Million who adopted a 4-year old. She said he felt like an overnight guest who stayed too long - like, when is this kid's mom coming to get him? I actually don't feel that way most of the time. I'm getting more used to three kids, to her face, to her voice. So that's progress. And as she starts to talk more and more (she's trying now, really trying, I think), we will be able to communicate, and I think that will be a big breakthrough for the mother-daughter duo.
I don't know how this turned into a post about Eva - was supposed to be a quick date recap. But maybe I needed to voice that, I don't know. I sometimes want to hide my feelings, either not post, or hide behind pictures and funny stories. But when I was trying to adopt (a year and a half of trolling the Internet for other adoptive families), I never once came across an adoption story that wasn't all candy and roses. That's why I was so blindsided when I brought Eva home and cried and cried to see her in the same room with my boys - it just all seemed so wrong, like worlds colliding. It was definitely not candy, nor was it roses. So that's why I feel like the truth should be out there, somewhere - at least, MY truth - so that if someone feels the way I feel, then they won't also feel alone, which is also how I feel.