In the midst of Emma’s struggle, I got to the see the depth of Raine’s own inner healing. Normally last minute adjustments throw her off. After getting the call that Emma* was on her way for an unexpected sleep over, I wondered aloud, “Where will I put her?”
“She can have my room,” Raine quickly offered. Her room is not something she’s prone to sharing.
“Where will you sleep?” I asked.
“In Athena’s room.” At different points the girls have shared a room. Raine is driven crazy by the sound of her sister’s breathing. “It’s so loud!” she shouted to the the point I vowed they’d never share a room again.
But I was out of options. We had a lovely 2yr old boy with us. I’d put his crib in the room Emma normally uses.
The night didn’t go well. Athena had a hard time settling down with Emma carrying on in the hallway. Thankfully our little 2yr old visitor had no trouble falling asleep. I put Raine into his room.
Without any fuss she went. She actually went and was asleep in no time at all. This sort of unexpected shuffling is something that used to send Raine into a state similar to Emma’s. She would shout at me, kick the walls, throw things around. Friday, there was none of that.
Once Athena was asleep, I put Raine back into the spare bed in her sister’s room. When she woke, there was no upset. Happily the girls played together and continued to most of the day.
Not long ago Raine couldn’t manage interacting with anyone remotely close to her age. She did well with much younger or much older children who would let her dominate.
By no means has Raine lost her strong personality. That’s just who she is. But there’s a softening. Her need to control isn’t as prevalent as it once was. She’s learning to go with the flow. That’s immensely helpful in our unpredictable life.
Outside of the realm of foster care, there’s the last minute invitations to the park – like happened last Sunday. A friend invited us to the splash pad by her house. I’d promised the kids s’mores after dinner. But dinner ended up being drive thru from a burger joint. It was bedtime when we got home.
“But what about s’mores?” Athena asked.
“I had a choice to make – stay home and have s’mores or go to the park and see our friends,” was my answer.
“You made the right choice,” Raine commented, heading upstairs to bed.
In the past, an overwhelming sense of loss would have consumed her when realizing she’d missed out on something. We had s’mores the next day. I try to always keep my word. But the miracle is that Raine was able to flex with that change. It didn’t debilitate her like it once would.
The transformation has been slow and full of setbacks. Still, I’m rejoicing in how far we’ve come. My daughter is secure in my love for her and her place in our family. From that place of security, she’s able to move with the rhythm of life – adapting to the challenges and joys that come our way.