I am reading a parenting book I picked up at CVS, about nurturing the boys in my life. This book identifies five year olds as the Loverstage. I have a lover in my home. My little guy is all love. The day cannot end without a cuddle in bed with his little arms and legs wrapped tightly around me. He demands it, no matter the time. He has a stuffed brown bear he calls Little Crumb. Great name don’t you think? Little Crumb got sick. He had a case of the unloveyitis (a la Doc McStuffins)…and with that his Daddy hugged him hard and walked around patting him on his back.
I have been recuperating from an outpatient procedure that took me over 20 years to get remedied. The grumpy adoptee in me sat stuck for a long bit about the whole prospect of taking care of a childhood issue at such a late stage in my life. The grown up in me is grateful to have insurance, a great surgeon and a husband who can just look at my face and know I need more pain meds even when I beg him off. It has felt like I caught what Little Crumb had, a bad case of unloveyitis. To show dependency is weak in my book. I stubbornly insisted on going grocery shopping last night just to prove I am in no way slowed by the fact that I keep losing my balance, can’t hear for crap in my surgeried ear, can’t taste anything and scared to shower off the single piece of white tape that is holding my ear in place. I am reminded of that hand that comes up as a child fending off gestures of kindness, assistance or love.
Why do I do this? I have the innate ability to fend off any show of assistance. It took a friend who wouldn’t take no for an answer to show up at my door with flowers, my favorite chocolate and wisk my children away for the day to realize how much I needed quiet, silence and rest. In my head this is a debt owed. I am in debt and mildly uncomfortable with the notion that I may not get the chance to repay. A long time ago, a therapist gently suggested to me that perhaps I need to stop the accounting in my head. In there, there is a list of pluses and minuses. The list is endless and never balances out. Too often, I feel I got shortchanged making me crazy with envy of those who can blissfully accept and move on. Even more often, I kill myself to exhaustion trying to overdo so as not to feel indebted. A good day is a day I was self sufficient.
I am not an island counting the number of boats docked at my shores. But growing up feeling compelled to be grateful infinitely, it is hard to not keep tally. Collateral damage of the ‘orphan syndrome’? Sometimes I think I do this on purpose to not rest too comfortably on my laurels of wonderful things and people around me. It could go away! One day I could be happy, the next I could be miserably alone. One day I could be with my Umma, the next I could be in a strange home, a strange land. These moments cause me whiplash, and I need to move slowly. My balance is precarious at best this week.
There is nothing about this week that caused me to think about being adopted personally. There is nothing that happened that hasn’t happened to thousands before me. But the child in me is uneasy. My history tells me so. Tomorrow could turn out to be a disaster, I need to stay vigilant and remain calm. But, I need to remind myself after all, unloveyitis is imaginary. It is mere child’s play and I am no longer a child.