This is a reality we expected when we talked about adding children to our lives. We expected extra wear and tear on our possessions.
|Aftermath of our fire|
Now, we aren’t all that locked up in possessions. About five years ago, we lost everything we owned to a house fire. We learned in those moments, watching our house burn, and afterwards, dealing with insurance and with starting over, what is truly meaningful in life. And it isn’t “stuff”. Not by a long shot.
|What was left of the bed we slept in|
Something like that teaches you to release your attachments to the physical. You learn that people and relationships are the most important things in life. You understand that everything physical is temporary, you can’t take it with you, and you can’t rely on it to save you, make you happy, or do anything more than serve a purpose to which other items might easily serve.
Stuff is just stuff.
And so, when people told us that our stuff would get destroyed, probably often, we were prepared for that. We didn’t really have a problem with it. But our expectations were skewed.
We knew the kind of “destruction” most kids create because we were kids, we have friends with kids, and hells bells, we spend a lot of time on the internet, where people regularly post the aftermath of their kids’ household destruction.
Stuff like this:
We saw those parent’s worst days, and thought yeah, we’ll probably have a few of those, even if the kids we adopt aren’t toddlers.
And they weren’t. They were five and six when they came into our home, mostly past what most parents would consider the worst ages of destructiveness.
Except stuff like in the above pictures? That was our reality.
Not one bad day.
Not once every few months.
Sometimes every day. Always at least three or four times a week.
And I was so tired.
I was tired of cleaning, and tired of having to throw away things that were often new. I was tired of buying things for the boys and having them systematically destroyed the next day. I was tired of washing the walls, because trying to get them to help do it made things even worse. I was just so tired of over and over again having to explain why it was wrong to destroy things and never, ever having it stick.
I was sent a video by a friend where another parent of an RAD child (who also had to disrupt their adoption) likened this life to the movie Groundhog Day. Every day is the same. It doesn’t matter how many times you tell them it’s not okay to hit, it’s not okay to steal, etc, it happens again and again and again.
But we’ve been accused of putting “stuff” before our kids when they hear me say that, and that’s not what it’s about. It’s not about the stuff, it’s about the wanton destruction. It’s about the exhaustion. It’s about the fact that it was not changing nor was it likely to change, ever. It’s about being faced with that level of horror in your life being a part of the rest of your days. It’s about a level of emotional exhaustion you can’t begin to imagine.
Or maybe you can…
I wish I could tell everyone who was so cruel to us when we disrupted to think back on their worst parenting day. You know that day – the day everything has gone wrong, your kid screamed at you all day, destroyed things, hurt you, hurt others, hurt themselves. I want them to think of that day, then imagine having that day almost every day.
Maybe then they would understand, a little better, what we went through.