Notes on a Blue Fish

I was standing in my friend’s kitchen when I noticed a glass fish on the shelf behind me.  It was large enough to grab my attention, and a lovely shade of blue. But what really caught my eye was the white sticker, created with a label maker, displayed across its middle.  The label said, “remember, I love you.”  I spotted another label on a photo of  her with her husband, smiling at the camera on their wedding day.  It read, “B loves S.”

We chatted as her crew of small blonde children ran about the house with my beautiful brown boys – energy overflowing the  space.  And as we talked, I thought about those stickers.

On Monday I wrote about The Magical Cord of Love and constancy.  You all left amazing suggestions of ways we can help our children feel connected to us in our absence – figuratively, when we are giving attention to another child, and literally when we are parted.  The vast majority of the suggestions were visual cues that would remind a child in a glance that they are loved and they belong.

My friend with the blue fish is a child from a hard place.  Yes, she is an adult – a wife and mother – but the wounds of her early years have not miraculously evaporated.  Those notes in her kitchen?  Her husband put them there so that even when they are parted, she will have visual cues that remind her that she is loved, and she belongs.

I asked her about the notes, and she replied with a long email, pouring out her heart about her struggles to be the woman she wants to be. She gave me permission to share it with you – today I want to share one excerpt.  Imagine these words coming from our children.

i have wondered from time to time if my heart might be wearing out for the pain i feel in my chest day after day my whole life…meanwhile, and all the while, he loves me. takes care of me ie: new clothes(always with a pair of amazing boots), food i want to eat, a house i am comfortable in and can ‘work’ in well, the vehicle of my choosing right down to the color, hair cuts, unlimited gas money, a kiss EVERY time he leaves the house, gifts, flowers, doesn’t let anything important around the house remain broken for more than a day or two (that’s not an exaggeration), lets me call him as many times a day as i need or want to, i could go on…i adore my husband, and most of the time i am quite convinced that he doesn’t love me.

 

She went on to write about the ways they are working to bring healing to her heart and mind.  She told me that when she reads my blog, she doesn’t read it from the mind of a mother, but as the child from the “hard place.”

I thank my friend for letting me have a glimpse into my children.  As an adult who is striving to heal, she can put words to feelings and experiences my children cannot.

I am reminded that I am easily caught up in wanting my children to heal simply to eliminate disruptive and challenging behavior.  But we need to take a long view – we want our children to heal not only so they will form healthy attachments to us, but to lay a foundation allowing them to form healthy attachments to future spouses, their children, and other people who love them.  Above all, I want my children’s hearts to be attached to Jesus Christ – to fully trust Him, allowing the healing only He can bring to mend their brokenness.

I’m holding on to this thought today.

Lisa

 

 

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

0 Comments

  1. Chantelle
    October 24, 2012

    Beautiful reminder.

    Reply
  2. Jole'
    October 24, 2012

    As I read this I remembered hearing a woman speak at a conference once about her unbelieving husband. Once she became a believer she witnessed to him in a "without a word" way. They lived close to a train track and everyday they heard train whistles throughout the day. She had made it a practice to pray for her husband's salvation every time she heard the whistle.
    Some time later she was compelled to tell her husband about her prayer when she heard the whistle. Time went on and she recalled a day when they were both outside and heard the whistle together he looked at her and said "your praying for me aren't you?", she smiled and said "yes."
    When she heard the whistle she prayed and from that point on when he heard it he knew she was praying! Those reminders could be a side note to something visual for the everyday things we hear in our surroundings. Every time you hear… Know that I love you.
    If you are like me you don't like loose ended stories just to make a point :). The man was diagnosed with cancer and eventually came to salvation and within a year (if i remember correctly) went home to be with the Lord.

    Reply
  3. Sharon
    October 24, 2012

    Thank you to your friend, for allowing you to share this. I feel like this gave me an intimate glimpse inside my daughter's heart.

    Reply
  4. Beth Templeton
    October 24, 2012

    I love this encouragement to take the long view Lisa. Yes, we want our children to heal and be whole for the benefits that it brings to them and to us now, but I agree– even more so do we long for their freedom for the fruit it will bear in their lives as adults. What a wonderful work we are doing here, co-laboring with Father God for our children to receive their full inheritance as sons and daughters of the King! May your friend enjoy the fulness of her inheritance.

    Reply
  5. Donna
    October 24, 2012

    Thank you for that. I was asked this week if I was putting too much pressure on myself trying to 'fix' my children and that I need to let them learn to fail and trust God. I was confussed because in that there is truth, but in that is the loss of where my kids came from and the guidance they need to heal.

    Thank you for this post in reminding me of the long term goals that I have!

    Reply
  6. Tammy
    October 24, 2012

    Thanks! just this morning I was asking my son to speak slower. and to him it communicated that I didn't love him. i can also hear my son say those things of all that i provide for him and he just wonders why anyone would love him and do those things for him. such hurt that runs so deep.

    Reply
  7. Laurel
    October 24, 2012

    "wanting my children to heal simply to eliminate disruptive and challenging behavior. But we need to take a long view – we want our children to heal not only so they will form healthy attachments to us, but to lay a foundation allowing them to form healthy attachments to future spouses, their children, and other people who love them. "

    Even though our Little Miss is now living in a Residential Care Facility . . . and we are no longer bombarded by her challenging behavior every day . . . we cling to the hope that her new living situation will help her to heal . . . will help her to be able to form healthy attachments in the future. Even if she is never bonded to us, her parents, we hope and pray that her heart will someday be able to bond and attach to others: friends, family, a spouse. How heartbreaking it would be if she faced the next 60-70 years alone, because of her "broken heart". (The only way I have found to describe our dear Little Miss is that she has wrapped her heart in concrete and she is not about to let anyone in.)

    Thank you for sharing your friend's story.

    Laurel

    Reply
  8. Sonya Hillrich
    October 24, 2012

    great reminder & what a special friend to share with you her thoughts & allow you to share them here.
    give her our love~

    Reply
  9. melodie111
    October 24, 2012

    What beauty. I don't have a child from a "hard place" but I have a child who if I did this, left notes, visual reminders, would minister to the depths of her soul.

    Thank you!

    Reply
  10. Mary (Owlhaven)
    October 24, 2012

    Great story. I read it to my daughter. I've told her before that one of the times I want her to feel more comfortable with relationship is so that she can enjoy and thrive being a wife and mom as an adult. And I think the self-awareness that your friend possesses has got to be helping with her gradual healing.

    Mary

    Reply
  11. lindsey
    October 24, 2012

    so very real. love it lisa. thank you to your friend for her willingness.

    Reply

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