The Foot of My Stairs

I’m standing at the base of the stairs in our home, patiently watching my daughter…

go up the stairs
    go down the stairs
        go up the stairs
            go down the stairs
                go up the stairs
                    go down the stairs
                        until an attitude adjustment is made.

I wonder to myself…”Why am I doing this? Why am I standing here making my daughter go up and down the stairs until her attitude changes? This is going to take forever. It would be so much easier to continue what I’ve been doing.” In the next moment I realize why I am here and that I’m lying to myself. It is not easier. I am here because I am reaping the consequences of my actions. For the past few months, I have been passively sitting by and letting her daddy deal with her because she is hard and she exasperates me. I’ve coped through each day, avoiding making her do anything she really needs to. The Driver gets to do the dirty work when he’s home.

Seemed easy enough in the moments of coping, but now I don’t just have a child on my hands that is simply tough, I’ve got a daughter that has attitude times ten, glares at me, mouths off at me and I’m pretty sure would say the word, “hate” if she knew to say it. Sigh. What I’ve done in my moments of not wanting to deal with her, is create a fissure in our relationship which is sure to crack wide open if I don’t do something about it. Every time I have not pushed back with boundaries, let her get away with attitude, spoken without thinking first and walked away without offering physical touch, I have done damage. I have confirmed to my Daughter of Purpose what she believes about herself…that she is not worth it. Sigh again. I could kick myself for what I’ve done in an effort to make it “easier on myself.” No wonder she adores her Daddy and pushes away from me. I have done this and no one can fix it but me.

This path back to a restored relationship is much harder than if I would’ve just done the small bit of hard work in the moment. A self-controlled tongue, a word of encouragement, an embrace amidst a shared moment of laughter, a standing of ground until the task was accomplished with a right attitude, a knee bent in prayer asking for help in the moment. I’m not perfect, but I know in my heart of hearts that I could’ve done a better job.

Sweet Mama, as I stand at the bottom of the stairs in my home working to get back to where I need to be with my daughter, I wonder if you’ve taken the easy road before too. Maybe you’re there now. Let me share something with you that occurred to me in the midst of the battlefield with my DOP recently. My husband cannot fight this battle for me. He cannot restore this relationship. He cannot earn her respect for me. He cannot make her listen to me. He cannot build the bond through physical touch for me. She will not assume that his words of love spoken to her come from me too. I cannot draft behind my husband like a cyclist, letting him take the front wind and me hoping to just coast along behind enjoying the benefits. It doesn’t work that way. I must also do the hard work because you see, if I don’t, I won’t get to reap the benefits. I won’t eat the sweet fruit of relationship with my daughter–only he will. Building relationship is hard work, but it is necessary. Do the hard work regardless of whether your child is adopted or not. These principles apply no matter where your child came from. I have had to build relationship with each and every one of my children and honestly…I’ve wanted to fast forward with each one…I’ve wanted the end product, not feeling like doing the work in between. Even after all these years and all these kids, I still wish for the easy road. You can see where that has gotten me…even when I know better.

If you need me, I’ll be at the foot of my stairs.

Note: Since I wrote this post, it has been a long, but good & profitable week with my DOP. We are on eye-level again, but I know that my work is not done. This daily battle will most likely endure a life time, but I press on because my precious Daughter of Purpose is a gift.

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