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Sunday, January 7, 2018

After the Flood

June 13, 2013 was a pivotal point in the journey with Dovi. But it turned out to be merely a passing storm. Sure, I was rattled and unsettled and in turmoil,  by the realization that placing Dovi was not a far-off dream, but a closer reality. But like most storms, the water eventually receded, and the rickety vessel resumed its cumbersome, weary trek down the unknown seas.

Which left me, the captain steering the ship, rather seasick and green around the gills. And there was debris all over the ship's deck to clean up.

The Shabbos following that Stormy Day was Dovi's fifth birthday on the Hebrew calendar, which coincided with our 17th anniversary. Still beset with raw emotion, I sat down and penned him this note. It was a note to myself, obviously, as he will never be able to read it, barring a miracle, or the coming of Moshiach, whichever will happen first...

I did a lot of soul searching that afternoon and evening. I discussed the situation with many people - my mother, my friends, my husband. My mother was filled with sympathy. My friends were filled with empathy. My husband was a completely different story; he had trouble understanding what I was so upset about. He was ready to place Dovi right then and there.

It's no secret than men are from Mars and women are from Venus, so to speak. Women filter everything through their emotions. Men think with logic. My husband explained to me very simply why he felt the way he did, and on paper, it all made sense. Our house was always a wreck; I was always a wreck; I let Dovi get away with everything; we couldn't focus on Chaim's needs; We had no life; and so on and so forth. But missing from the equation was the emotional counterarguments, which were endless. Dovi is a little kid; he belongs with his family. There are no Jewish places taking such young kids. If he gets placed, a big part of my identity will dissolve, and I will be left figuring out who I am. Etcetra etcetra. Both sides had equally valid arguments. But his attitude was killing me.

I may have mentioned in another post that my husband's relationship with Dovi completely changed and blossomed the last 2-3 years he was home, and the 2 of them have a deeply loving relationship that I cannot compete with. Dovi's face lights up in ways I can't describe when my husband visits. He obeyed him in ways he never obeyed me. My husband's ability to put his feelings aside and keep firm boundaries and discipline was impossible for me; I often sabotaged his efforts because of my maternal insecurities. But at that time, his relationship with Dovi was weak. And honestly, so was mine. We were still struggling to figure out how to balance all the different facets of parenting Dovi, and it was very difficult to have a positive relationship with him. He was also much lower functioning at the time and he didn't express any reciprocal positive feelings, so everything around Dovi was just one big ball of stress.

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