Trauma and Holidays

Originally written in November 2011
with addendum 2015

I have written about our children’s internal clock, and how Holidays can wreak havoc on a child who has suffered much in life.
We are not strangers to Trauma, or Anniversaries.   Those anniversaries are usually not positive!  They bring back memories and our children suffer so.

Over the years, I have found that preparing our children for the holidays ahead of time, helps with the impact of the Anniversary.

Two of our daughters LOVE Holidays and Birthdays!  One of our daughter’s likes the holiday time, but has so many hurtful memories.  And then one of our daughters would prefer that Holidays didn’t exist.   It is a stressful time for her.

We have done our best to rewrite memories that are good and her memories of good times at Holidays are there.  But what is also there is rejection, pain and the memories of long ago.

Unfortunately, her birthday comes right at the SAME TIME!  She likes her birthday but doesn’t like to make a big deal of it.

There are positive things that can come out of the holidays.  It is a great opportunity to help our children to work through that old trauma!    While it may not be exactly how we would view holidays, they are a perfect time to work on some tough things. 🙂

So today we had some extra rocking chair time for a couple of girls.
We talked about what to expect and came up with some positives!

Now, In the middle of this rocking chair time I was baking like a crazy woman, trying to figure out a new recipe and one of our girls was telling me she wanted a new room mate! LOL
One minute she was playing peacefully and the next she was full of angst.
The room mate request signaled to me a need for a rocking chair experience.
THAT is when we as parents drop EVERYTHING and focus. It was time to put the baking aside for somebody WAY more important that a perfect pie.

But poor Sweetie 4 was just so sad that she will not be able to see her other brother and sister.  She was mournfully blaming herself…. “It is all my fault because I had a bad attitude”.  🙁
And then I had to carefully work through THAT minefield and tell her NO! It was NOT ALL your fault… HOWEVER, you DID have behaviors that were not appropriate.
But parents normally don’t send their kids away like that.  THAT is NOT your fault!
She went on to say, “I had NO IDEA they would do that!”
I told her I’m GLAD you had NO idea! Because it isn’t normal!
“You had those same behaviors when you came here, and we worked through them, right?”
She smiled and said tearfully, “Thank you for keeping me mommy!”
That broke my heart. 🙁

I pray that some day when her siblings are older, that they will be able to reconnect.  But for now, that is just not possible.

I reassured her at the same time that I believe she is where she belongs.  She agreed and said something very profound…. “Mama, I don’t think I could have healed if I hadn’t come here.”
And then I got the biggest hug ever… and a big smile….
It was a sweet time. 🙂

I hugged our other girl and rocked her after that.  And we talked all about the plans for the weekend.  She managed some sweet snuggles, I love you’s and smiles. 🙂

I took one of our girls out and talked about what the plans were for the weekend.  We also joked that when she was older, she just might spend Holidays camping or on a cruise! LOL  She loved that idea.

It is really important for us to accept our children where they are.  There is no moral dilemma with being stressed by Holidays.
We have a huge family, and it can be stressful for one of our daughters in particular. At the same time, she really does enjoy the time, just in smaller bites. 🙂
She LOVES her little nephews and nieces and and can be found entertaining them.
And then…. she’ll slip off to read or write…. and that is OK!

Do not let relatives pass judgment on your children.  Encourage your children to be polite and kind, but don’t force them to be fake.
Things are much more peaceful that way.

Everybody is tucked in and the last of the baking is going on……
Praying for those of you who’s children suffer during the Holidays.

And addendum:

It is now 2015 and it is November, and I’m starting to bake like a crazy woman once again.  Actually, I’m cracking a LOAD of pecans!
It is quiet at home.  Sweetie 2’s birthday is coming up and she is actually excited about it and has invited a few friends over. 🙂
She is still more quiet and reserved than the others and that is ok.
Working her way through the holidays every year has been helpful for her. This a.m. she left for a big foot ball game and on her way out gave us both an I love you. 🙂

The other two sweeties are in the holiday spirit already!  I showed them the special guest soaps I found at a bargain and they ooed and awed at them and are happily waiting to go and serve today at the church.

Our youngest sweetie you know, if you have read our blog before is now incarcerated and separated from family. 🙁  This is the first time she won’t be with us for the holidays.  She is just starting to come to terms with that reality.

We are looking forward to spending the Holidays with family and friends.  Full Steam ahead to Healing!
And even if Sweetie 4 isn’t with us, Love NEVER Fails.   I sent “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” DVD for her pod to be able to watch.
And we will visit. 🙂


4 Responses to Trauma and Holidays

  1. Melin says:

    So glad you wrote this because I believe there are so many parents who live with guilt and regret. They believe that if they do everything right and well, the child will surely heal. Somehow. Someway. At sometime. It simply is not the truth. Nobody can predict anybody else’s choice – heck, we can’t even predict our own.
    I think it is awful for the adoptive parents who have tried so hard, believed so fervervently, that they can affect outcome: That their child will be healthy and emotionally well if they are only loved enough. Sometimes we can (most times)affect outcome, but sometimes we cannot.

    I know your daughter’s story is far from over. I don’t mean to imply that it is. But your blog speaks to your truth and, I suspect, many others. There are no formulas for parenting. It is not competition.
    Wish I was having pecan pie at your house 🙂

  2. Melin says:

    Do you remember forever ago I invited you to stay with us if you ever got to the NYC area? The offer is still open!

Comments warmly welcomed!


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