Last month I signed up to receive an email newsletter from Ce Eshelman an Attachment Therapist in California. She said I could use her news letters on my blog. Thanks Ce! Below is her November newsletter.
[Ironically, my email delivery system failed during the Thanksgiving holiday, so this next sentence is...well...you decide.]
You are probably noticing a theme with me...can it already be November, Thanksgiving Day? Yikes! I say that every season, every newsletter. My time is always flying. Perhaps I will make this a seasonal email (rather than monthly) and my integrity will not be so compromised. Then again, maybe I will just be human, and busy, and behind in things not so important, as well as in things very important...the latter is you. You are very important in my mind, in my heart.
While the stuffing awaits the table and the pumpkin pie is in the oven for its 50 minute aroma reminder that it is indeed Thanksgiving Day, I will send you a note of gratitude:
I am grateful for you; for the love you give to your attached and attachment challenged children every day. I am very grateful you are alive on this planet, willing to give and give and love and love into what seems like a never ending well of ill-defined need.
Rest assured; your love matters. Often, I have been challenged about this..."Ce, I am doubting your sentiment—does love really matter?" Nancy Thomas, in her book Love is not Enough doesn't seem to think so. Trust me...I've met Nancy; she, too, knows that your love matters. All of us have to be both optimistic and realistic. Our ultimate goal is to change the trajectory of our children's lives just a little in a positive direction. If in the process of a little, there is a bunch, then exaltations are in order. Until then, celebrate the small changes, the little triumphs, the steps forward before the ones back. Perhaps that is the ultimate spiritual challenge—remaining hopeful and loving during the steps back.
Still, I would like to share a personal bit I am thankful for:
My daughter is about to transition home from her third stint in residential treatment. Three, count em. She is fourteen now and proud of her personal accomplishments. I am proud of her, too, and grateful for her growth as a person. Honestly, I had my doubts and I still have my doubts. Today, she happily peeled all the potatoes for our family dinner. Did you catch that? "Happily?" She dressed herself up—a little over the top, but not way too much and her makeup was "kinda normal" (When did I get this old?). So far, she is managing to share the attention in the room with the rest of the family. That is a big deal for her, for me.
I am grateful that I was able to tell her that I was anxious and afraid of her doing something she shouldn’t, making a slip of judgment, and messing up both my joyful experience of her and her own pride in her accomplishments. I told her that I wished I didn't feel that way because it didn’t allow room for her to be a kid and to make mistakes, to which she replied, "I understand why you feel that way...and I want to live at home with you, because I love you, because I love myself now, because...I don't know...it is just right..I know it’s okay to make mistakes, Mom. And you know I will!" We both had to laugh.
I share this conversation because it is a genuine exchange between us. This child, in the past, having attempted to break every window out of our house, having runaway repeatedly, having stolen anything and everything she could get a hold of that she wanted, having abused her autistic brother while lying about great and small things alike...and on and on.
So, my daughter is due to transition back home in February and I find myself with trepidation and gratitude. I am really enjoying her for the first time and I do not feel like a “bad mother” saying so. Her behavior was and often still is difficult for me to accept. Enjoying her is taking me by surprise. It is not 24/7 enjoyment (don't get me wrong), though I am grateful for these precious moments when the clouds clear. And when there is laughter.
For all of you who honor me with your life stories, your pain, your challenges, and your healing, I am grateful. Take a moment to list all that you are grateful for and trust that love does matter. Your challenges matter and your constant effort will change the trajectory of your children’s lives. Believe, persevere, trust...love matters.
My timer tells me it's time for the pumpkin pie to be rescued from the oven--Happy Thanksgiving.
Because love matters, Ce
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