Books have power. This is no secret. The school librarian put a book in T~’s hands this spring and if ever there was a book that needed to be read at that moment, it was The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley.
It’s a story that’s been told a thousand times a thousand different ways & yet this time, this telling, cracked open a window for T~. That crack, and a little mental maturity, has caused monumental shifts for T~ & for those of us that live with her.
A brief description of the story: Ada is told her whole life she is one thing & through a series of events, she realizes she is not who she thought she was.
The shift in Ada’s thinking. The shift in her perspective. It is all beautifully told in the story. What else is told is the cost of that shift. It is huge. All her life she wanted one thing to be true. But it wasn’t. That caused monumental hurt & uncertainty. The shift changed everything.
T~ & I read the book at the same time (she started it, went to bed. I took it, started & finished it before falling asleep. She finished it the next day). I’m so thankful we did because we had some wonderful conversations. For the first time, T~ found a book where the mixed up emotions she feels were put into words. She could relate to Ada’s confusion. Ada knew things were good but they still made her anxious, fearful, & unsettled.
T~ feels like that. Days J~ & I love, Referralversary or Za Ding Day are days of conflicted emotions for T~. She wants to please us by being happy, but she does not see these days through the same lens. When J~ & I think of Referralversary, we see what we have gained. T~ sees what she lost. I cannot change her perspective. It is hers as much as mine is mine. She cannot put on my glasses and see what I see anymore than I can wear her glasses and see what she sees.
A long time ago I read a blog post about how parenting is grinding the lenses through which our children view the world. I loved the analogy. We help shape how our children experience life. With my boys we started from the very beginning.
Hungry? Mom will feed you.
Tired? Dad will rock you to sleep.
All those grindings shape the lens so my boys saw safety, comfort, & love.
T~’s lens was ground differently. Maybe they started out being ground the same way, but eventually, her lens took a different shape.
Hungry? There’s not enough for you.
Need to be held? No time for that.
T~’s perspective of the world was of insecurity, anxiety, & stress.
We are doing the long, hard, exhausting work of grinding & adding filters to T~’s lens. She feels her trauma & losses deeply. So we adapt and parent differently. We parent by book and by touch. We sense shifts & adapt as quickly as we can. We bring in experts who help us navigate the troubled waters & help us steer clear of other stormy paths. Some days we get it right. Others we get wrong. Some days we think we might survive her childhood. Other days we hope she’ll finish high school without becoming pregnant.
Good thing there’s grace!
*insert funny segue*
To sum up.
Read The War That Saved My Life.
If you’re in the trauma/loss parenting trenches, we’re right there with you!
But you should really take some time and read The War That Saved My Life & then we can discuss