During the holiday’s we saw a huge decline in Little R’s behaviors. We had started to have great strides forward and really started to see growth and change in her. Once October hit we started to see a downward spiral.
We discovered pretty quickly that October-December is her “trigger” months. They hold a lot of scary history for her and with that presents a tremendous amount of anxiety and fear.
For a moment think about being in your home and just hanging out. A knock comes at the door and a woman walks in. She says to you “ please go pack a bag we don’t have a lot of time so just grab what you can and we’ll try to come back for more stuff later” You ask why but she doesn’t give you a very clear answer and all the adults look sad or angry.
You go and pack and the woman tells you that your family just doesn’t see you as a good “fit” for them anymore and that they decided (without you knowing) that you needed to go to a new home. She directs you to the door and takes you to her car. You leave behind your family, and friends and belongings and go to a new house, new smells, new people, new routine, new rules, new expectations, new school, new toys, new job, and new bed and very rarely if ever see those people or family again. You may have to leave behind your favorite bathrobe or IPod or laptop. You may not have gotten you favorite toothbrush or grabbed the journal you were writing in. You may or may not ever see your personal items again or that special locket that grandma gave you.
This is the reality that Little R lived for 5 years and most of her moves where during October-December. The holidays are scary for her. In 5 years she has never once spent a Christmas at the same house twice. Every year she has to learn new traditions, go to new family get together’s and start over. She never got seconds. She was so afraid that when the holiday’s ended that so would her stay at our home.
Her fear and anxiety was so encompassing that she lashed out. She tried repeatedly to sabotage family get togethers before we went. It was easier for her to be punished and not go than to enjoy and learn the new traditions that would be taken away again when she left. We figured this out in advance and included her in ALL our traditions even if she was having a rough time. We wanted her to experience all the fun of the holidays.
We made it a point this Christmas to provide some concrete traditions for her to look forward to in future years. Ornaments of her very own. We also include Church and a present on Christmas Eve, and video to help remember the day.
I am so excited that we are coming up on all our seconds in the next couple of months. We know can say “remember last year” instead of “this is what we do during this holiday”.
I look forward to seeing the growth and healing in her over the years. Each day may be a struggle and there are days she pushes me away, but I have to remember that each push is a frightened girl who is trying desperately to make sure she has a home where she can have second's at.