Bart and I are currently having an online conversation about what to do about Christmas and I think that I'm in the same predicament. We are discussing how we are going to do Christmas this year and the ways in which some of our kids (adults and children) are responding to the holiday and how they are going to respond to us and what we do this Christmas.
I think that one of the biggest mistakes that we made as adoptive parents was to expect children who were grateful. In retrospect, that is hilarious. Now some of our kids are... but the others are not appropriately grateful. There is always something that has been done wrong on their behalf to mess up their lives in general, or their Christmas, and they let us know about it.
SO I made the statement to Bart that all I would like is to have one Christmas when all twelve of my children are appropriately grateful. I must say that it is really too bad that everyone doesn't have a Bart. He is so good at seeing through things and getting to the point.
I have to quote him so you can see why I'm blessed to be married to him. I am all wrapped up in how I am being treated after all my years of effort and attempts to make them happy and he says,
These kids have to find their way, and all we can do is model ours and love them in the process. Most of our years of trying to imprint on them are over, they either got it then or might someday but we are past the point of imprinting much. I'm trying to practice feigned indifference because the more I try to make someone like I want them to be the less likely it is going to happen. There's kind of a direct, inverse relationship with that. I fare much better by acting in ways that I want to see them act.
And that smacked me directly in the face in a loving sort of way. (As Dominyk would say, "I've been put on blast!) If I am grumbling around all week, ungrateful because I have ungrateful children, how is that going to add to a positive holiday season? I simply need to relax, enjoy my children and grandchildren, and model the grateful person that I want each of them to be. In my Baby Steps Out blog that I have recently started for people trying to dig themselves out of a difficult situation, the challenge for Day Five is about gratitude. I need to follow my own advice.