Monday, May 25, 2009

Where there is love...

Hell in a skin suit.
It's a harsh description of a person.
Looking in the mirror is all the reminder needed to know she's not the only person alive to fit such a name.
It might be kinder to detail the particular reasons why Charlie and I laughed, looked at each other and nodded the first time we heard the phrase... but that would take more than 15 minutes.
She's not a bad person... and despite any writing that might suggest otherwise, she is loved.
Love you choose.
Emotion you don't.
Love isn't a feeling but a choice.
In time, the feelings of affection will return. Of that I am certain.
For now, I just take a deep breath and remind myself that feelings are temporary... how we choose to act will have the greater impact all around.
We choose to act as we would with any nearly 30-year old woman. We expect the words and deeds of an adult. Anything less is not allowed.
Yup, allowed.
Part of being a parent is choosing what you will and will not allow in your life and home, including from your children.

We made a promise before God... and later before the court that we would love and accept her as a daughter. That hasn't changed.

What has changed is the method of showing love.
We love John, Daniel, Rachel, Becka and Krys with the same fierce intensity we loved them before they were born... but we don't show that love in the same way we did when they were infants, toddlers and elementary school kids. Their needs change as they grow and we've learned, often painfully, that if you love an older child as if they are younger, their growth is slowed or even stunted.

I've seen too many homes where the toddler rules to roost... and more than enough homes where the child behaving as a toddler still rules.

So it was in our home. For a time, the behavior of an adult lost in the emotions of a child ruled the family. The rules have changed.

Having finally stepped up to the role of parents to a mentally ill adult child, we're learning to say no, expect responsible choices and allowing ourselves room to heal.

These days the intensity of emotions make it hard to hold to the love that exists. As we heal, that will change. The hope we have for her is real... The capacity to grow exists... but we're realistic enough to accept we can only control our choices.

We're learning.