New Life, Old Ways

May 17, 2010

As I was sitting around a table with friends today and our kids playing downstairs in the basement, a bad feeling started to stir in my chest. You know the kind, where things just don’t feel right.

Call it your gut, call it mother’s instinct, I call it the Holy Spirit. It feels like a gentle stirring that gets your attention and doesn’t let go.

From the beginning, I didn’t feel good about Dima being downstairs with a handful of other young kids. But, I was in that internal struggle of “should I do what all the other moms are doing so I don’t look like the weird, overprotective one? Or do I follow my instinct and go against the flow?”

I decided to stay with my friends and hope that all would be well downstairs. Things seemed to be going great for a while. I started to relax and enjoy my time when little messengers began to come upstairs to fill me in on all the bad stuff Dima was doing.

I finally went downstairs to go get him. It was pretty obvious that he wasn’t mixing well with the other kids. It was nearing naptime, so I said goodbye to my friends and came home.

As I was driving down the highway with tears in my eyes, I looked into the backseat only to see my little man staring at me through the rearview mirror. He gave me a sheepish little smile and I started to think about the reality of his life.

The only context he has of unsupervised playtime was from the orphanage, where “survival of the fittest” was the motto. If you want a toy, grab it. If someone has what you want, do what it takes to get it from them. If you are mad, hit.

Although we have been working on these things with Dima, I realized today how quickly he can revert back to his old way of living once supervision is taken away. And I realized how quickly I can revert back to my old ways of living when I am not connected to the Holy Spirit.

Being a people pleaser by nature, all I wanted was for these friends (who I know love me no matter what my parenting looks like) to think I was “super mom”. I wanted them to think that Dima was ready to just be let loose.

I so quickly reverted back to my old, people pleasing way of living, instead of being connected to the Spirit inside me, who was prompting me to go downstairs much sooner than I did. I chose pride over wisdom. I chose what I wanted in the moment over what was best for Dima.

At this point in DIma’s life, he still needs to be constantly reminded of what “new life” looks like. Just because he has a new family and lives in a new world, doesn’t mean he knows how to live in it. We not only have to teach new life, we have to unteach old life, which is all that he knows, it is what he is comfortable with.

That takes time and patience and grace beyond what I can muster up in my own strength. And I am reminded of a God who is constantly having to teach new life to me, as He offers patience and grace that flows freely out of His unrelenting love for me.

Until next Monday,

Love,

Kate and Steve

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7 Responses to “New Life, Old Ways”

  1. Ronnie Lowe said

    Oh, my sweet little girl. Being a mommy takes more wisdom than the average guy could ever muster up. I’ve watched your own mom, over the years, get in touch with you and Jeff in ways I would have never thought of. The amount of graceful understanding that God gives a mommy is beyond measure. From everything I’ve seen and heard, it appears you are gaining that wisdom in a record pace. You ARE an awesome mommy and there will be days like this. To be transparent like this and share your true feelings and emotions is such a blessing to me and I am sure to so many people. I can’t wait to see you, Steve and Dima in a couple of days.

  2. mama mary said

    Listen to your daddy’s words, Katie. He sounds like a wise man!!
    Love you.

  3. Sarah said

    I have so been there! I can be a people pleaser too, there have been times when I have even changed how I parent because of who I’m having a coffee with at the time. I don’t think our friends are really ever going to understand that our children’s lives didn’t start fresh when the plane touched down in their new home country. While their toddlers are moving towards independence, ours are learing dependence. I can remember people thinking that it was great that my two year old was so happy to play away from us at friends’ houses, while their children were glued to their sides, they just didn’t get that my child had no experience of a parent/child bond and had missed out the ‘glued to Mum’s side’ stage. My daughter is nearly four and has now become the child who is glued to my side and my friends feel I should be pushing her to be more independent…Our experience, especially the first two years home, is totally different from anyone elses. If you don’t feel comfortable with Dima playing away from you, then that’s okay, you are his Mum and you know what’s best for him. It took quite a while for my children to learn how to relax when playing with peers and even longer for me to be able to predict their actions when away from me (my three year old tried to stick metal tweezers into an electrical socket the first time he played away from us at a friends house and my three year old will still try eating any small item that she finds. I know people say that all children do these things, but it is different).
    The fact that you can recognise the ‘survival of the fittest’ behaviour for what it is, shows that you really are the right mum for the job. Don’t worry too much, it gets easier.

  4. Sarah said

    I just reread my comment and wanted to add that my friends are actually really understanding when I explain why I do things a bit differently to them at times. A lot of the time it’s me imagining that they are thinking that I’m doing it all wrong.

  5. kirsten said

    🙂 love to you!

  6. Wendi said

    Kate,
    I love reading your posts – they are always so insightful and really are preparing me for what lies ahead in the weeks and months to come with Marina. Thanks for your honesty and always speaking from your heart. While I don’t know your personally, I can say that Dima is one lucky little boy to have such wonderful parents!!

  7. Romina Colucci said

    Dear Kate and Steve,
    would you mind posting more pictures and videos of Dima?
    Like they say……….a picture is worth more than a thousand words!!!!!!
    Keep up the good work…….he will turn out to be a good boy!!!
    Love
    Romina

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