This week marks ten years since we went from being a couple to parents of twins. Each year I struggle with marking the day. Obviously, it is of import to me. It also is of import to my children in ways I cannot measure or understand. I consciously stay away from anything celebratory. I ponder going to the temple. It makes me wonder what I am thanking Her for? I am not sure.
This week I have been going back to the week leading up to and the hours and days after. I am looking at pictures and videos. I am sifting and parsing through the person I was and the person I am now, a decade later.
The part that strikes me most is the lessons. If adopting my children has done anything, it has made me incredibly open to all sorts of experiences. It has given me the confidence to discard societal norms and expectations and chart my own course. It has made going off path easy.
I have learned a lot of things, the salient ones being:
1. It is okay to trust your gut.
2. No one. Not your parents. Not parents of ten kids. Not the wise old paati. No one knows you and your children as well as you do. A new parent does not have to mean a clueless parent.
3. Good practices are just that. Things that have worked for some people. It does not mean it has to work for you. Crying it out. Co-sleeping. Allergies. Feeding. Discipline. Everything has its chorus of cheerleaders and experts. You must remember you are the expert in your dynamic, in your family.
4. If your instinct tells you something is wrong, it is more than likely right. Seek help. Seek support. Seek your tribe out. It might save you and your child.
5. Adoption is not giving birth. Adoptive parenting is parenting. There is no equivalency. Lots of things are the same. Many things are not. There will always be “Is this adoption? Is it not?” plaguing you. It is okay. It means you are aware. It means you are open to the fact that there are things you cannot control. It means your child may need more than what you are capable of. It means you are focused on the cause not the symptom. It means you love your child enough to know there is more to what meets the eye.
5. Parenting is falling off the pedestal you put yourself on. Every single day. It means picking yourself up, dusting off, resetting and doing it all over again.
6. Hard conversations are only hard the first time. Once you start, it becomes normal. It makes it an incredible experience to talk to your child openly and freely, to be able to share your fears and see that light of comprehension in their eyes.
7. I am a nurturer. I am not great at engaging with my children in all the ways they need me. Knowing
that has helped me make peace with what I am and how much I can do for them.
8. Opting out of the rat race is freeing. It takes the pressure off from you and your child. It lets you explore all the things your child can be. It strips away hopes, aspirations, and expectations to reveal the basics of what you want for your child.
9. I know I will always be their mother, even when I am old and doddering and my brood has a brood of its own. It has allowed me to embrace my mom, warts and all.
10. Being a mother will be an identity I will carry to my end.