Sunday, March 14, 2010

Falling in Like

I've been absent from the cyber-world because I got pneumonia. Coughing-so-hard-you-throw-up, in-bed-for-days, just-take-me-out-back-and-shoot-me, pneumonia. I was able to avoid the hospital by visits to the Austin Infusion Center for breathing treatments and IV fluids and antibiotics. I'm now doing much better and taking the oral version at home. This antibiotic is one commonly used for pneumonia and bronchitis. Oh, and exposure to anthrax. I take it and about 45 minutes later feel like I need a simultaneous nap and quick vomit. And it makes me itchy and cranky, and I'm pretty sure it makes me hover on the verge of a heart attack for at least two hours after taking it. But I'm immensely thankful for the kind nurses and comfy chairs of the infusion center that allowed me to sleep in my own bed and hack in privacy.

While in the thick of it, I hardly saw my children. As you might suspect this was hard for the girls since we'd only recently returned from Ethiopia, really hard on Yonas when we were just beginning our journey of attachment, and excruciating for Erik who became a single parent of four overnight. We continued to receive meals and offers of play dates which helped a lot, but Erik was left to care for Yonas on his own. And frankly, this is still a boy one needs to have regular breaks from. (I'd like now to offer up all kinds of respect and awe to the single parents out there---Cindy, Shannon, etc; I bow down before you.)

So while laying in bed I had some time to think. Here's what I thought about: Injustice. How many people throughout history have died of pneumonia. I thought about pioneer women. How many mothers would have had to keep on keepin' on until they couldn't any longer and then eventually died. How I got to rest in bed and watch movies on a laptop. I thought about how many people with AIDS have died of pneumonia and how ashamed the United States should be for its startling lack of monetary contribution to the global HIV/AIDS pandemic. I thought about how many people all over the world right now are dying of pneumonia because they don't have access to medication. I thought about Ethiopia and her people. Of Yonas and his orphangemates. Of their respective birth families and what would happen if they contracted pneumonia. I thought, I'm so thankful.

When I remember we have only been home for three weeks, I am astounded by the progress we have made as individuals and as a family. Yonas has settled in a bit. He is a sweet, funny, affectionate boy that has the same capacity for delightfulness that Eden has. Except when he's not. His tantrums are lessening in frequency and length, but they are still a daily matter. Erik brought him so far in the time I was the sickest. But Yonas and I have work to do together. The work he has done with Erik doesn't transfer automatically to me. So yesterday, when I offered him a bite of soup he found disagreeable, he tantrumed. He went to the pantry and found the Swiffer. He slammed it on the ground in a threatening way for my benefit. When I turned my back to ignore the ugly, he hit me over the head with it. He is that boy.

He is also the boy that puts his chubby hands on both of my cheeks and pulls my mouth to his. The one that lifts my shirt so he can rest his head on my bare belly while he sucks his thumb. The one that belly laughs for his Papa and hugs Ava. The one that loves his car seat and being outside, the one that freely pours water over his head in the bath and has learned the words bubble, toot, mama, donkey and the sign for more since being home. He is that boy too.

The most important thing I thought while I lay in isolated sickness was this: I miss him. I would be lying if I said that I don't have moments of doubt and pessimism and anger. I do. But I missed the weight of his body on mine, his skin, his Yonasness.

And for that, this beginning of falling in like, I am thankful for pneumonia.


Cindy said...

Beautiful momma....I am glad you are starting to feel better.

rebekah said...

I was just about to bug you, for my own selfishness, wondering how you were doing. So glad I didn't.

I have one who hits with things too, with perfect aim. Once, a cheeseburger was pelted at me from the back seat. Lovely.

Glad you are on the mend. So glad. Still thinking of you and sending good strength your way every day.

Bridget said...

I love that he lifts your shirt to lay on your belly. I really, really, love that. Glad you are feeling better. So sorry you were so ill.

Amy said...

It sounds like you are making wonderful progress!

InventingLiz said...

Three week is just a blink, it will get better and better, though I am learning that you can't get lazy or complacent about attachment work no matter how much time goes by (we have been home for not quite three months).

Sha Zam- said...

I remember the first time I had pneumonia.. I realized why people die from it. I was a healthy 26 year old and that is all I remember about the experience. So glad you are feeling better.

I want to let you know... it gets better. I'm stilli nthe fog.. don't really know what is next- and trying to not think about it... but it does get better. The more I realize / recognize the issues... the more he experiences the issues... the more we get through them. Food is still one that comes and goes... But I'm determinted to teach him to self regulate (hard part is getting everyone else to stop offering him food 24/7) They've never had choices/ options/ etc of food. So they ate whenever it was available.... if they can see it.. its available. That is good and bad... It's a curse really.

I'm so glad you posted a picture of him. When you get a chance can you post a picture of him with your family so T can see that he is good and happy. That helps T alot- in sorting out what happened to those he knows and what will happen next to him. If he sees that others he knew are ok and happy... he can relate to that.

Take care of yourself Ashley!! Missed you and we Love that boy of yours!!

abaco1966 said...

Oh, lordy, Ashley! You really are trying to do this the hard way, aren’t’ you? Glad you’re on the mend…and falling in like. (And while I may parent alone, I only have to manage a one-on-one defense, not fielding half a team on my own.)
~ cindy

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Mama Gringa said...

Hope you get well soon so that you can continue on that attachment journey with Yonas. Sending cyber hugs and chicken soup. :)

Chatter said...

Beautiful, beautiful post! You are such a great writer. If I could only express my emotions in such a manner. Hope you get feeling better soon!

Shannon U. said...

I am so sorry you are/were so sick!
Very thankful you had an alternative to the hospital. I am first-hand certain that no one gets any rest there.
Wish I could have helped in some way..but alas I have had several major events in my life these weeks as well and couldn't have done a darn thing.
I can't wait for some time in the future to sit down and have coffee (or wine) and a good 3 hour talk.
I am so thankful you are writing this. I miss you.
Shannon U.

Lauren said...

Poor little guy. I bet his tantrums will continue to abate when he is grieving less, and feeling more secure in his new home and family.

It probably takes him time to fall in love too. Or fall in like.

I think the fact that he wants to rest against your skin means that at one time, someone, a mom?, did that too. He probably misses that person just as you miss the relative calm of your old family life.

Hang in there, glad you are on the mend.

Ashley said...

yes, yonas is clearly missing his home. of course he his. he has lost more in his life than i ever will. he is grieving now and will always carry that loss with him.

and of course he doesn't automatically fall in love with us. he doesn't trust us. nothing in his life has told him gets to stay with us. the road to attachment is long and takes hard work and for all parties involved.

we are finding our way together. we are learning from each other. we are becoming a family and this doesn't happen overnight. love is a beautiful thing, a gift. we are working to earn it.

MCK said...

I can completely empathize with your mixed feelings - those of missing him and of being glad for him and who he is while also wishing for less tantruming and aggression. I don't have my two Ethiopian children home yet (still waiting for referral), but I do have a birth child who, at age 7, yesterday threatened to hit me with [let's just say it was a blunt metal object] in my sleep because he was so mad at me. 10 minutes later he had gotten past his anger and frustration (maybe because I'd tried hard to HEAR it and to let him know that I heard it?) and was loving me like only he can...with imagination and laughter and "fuggles" (his invention: fun snuggles = fuggles). It is hard. You are making progress. Hopefully, so are we!

MCK said...


You have to read this post the whole way through. Hope it's helpful to you in some small way:

Unknown said...

oh ashley!! I am just catching up. So happy to see Yonas home with you! I'm sure it is a long road of adjustment for everyone. Baby steps. Glad you are at least getting the extremes of the good with the bad. But he is gorgeous as well as the rest of your family! So sorry about the pneumonia! You are the second person i know now who has it - and you seem to be faring much better. I had no idea it was so prevalent in young healthy people. Hope you are way on the mend now. And I hope to one day see you again :)

HoneySquared said...

Dear, sweet Ashley...

Jenn sent me your blog address so that I could read about your beautiful journey...what a privilege to share it with you this way!
I got pneumonia when we came back with Lane from China, and I can so relate with ALL that you have written glad to see that you are hopeful, and seeing progress with your precious baby boy...being long-sighted helps so much in parenting, marriage, adoption, life...fully in the moment, but with your eyes lifted. I love your honesty and transparency! I love to read about how you embrace it all...there is goodness and beauty to be found in everything in our lives...and I love how you seek to find it-even in pneumonia!
I am praying that your transition with Yonas continues to smooth out...I remember that season for our family like the first months with a goes so slowly when you are in them, but looking back it is a blur...
Thanks so much for sharing your are so blessed!

as always,
amy archer allert

coffeemom said...

I just found your blog. Wish I'd seen it sooner. I get it. Been tthere...still working on it too. this falling in like...and the surprise of different's a bear and a continuous puzzle.
Of course, getting sick is a no help at all...I was so very sick too, upon our placemetn of this last adoption..i wonder if that didn't make it all SOOO much harder (of course, it did, laid down rails that are hard to step over some).
Anyhow, now i have to go keep reading.
Thanks for your honesty!