Who do I think I’m protecting?

This week Bumble and I had a rare chance to get dressed up and help with ‘Front of House’ for a local Musical Theatre Group’s production of “Annie”. Bumble has been involved with this group for some years now (only small parts but he will always be my Patrick Swayze), in fact on one occasion Beeswax joined his dad ‘on stage’ (but, that is a whole other blog post which I may write sometime). Each year since the boys moved in with us, at least one of them has come to see their dad in the shows he has been in – except for last year! I really don’t think Social services would have been too impressed if I took two impressionable boys to see ‘The Full Monty”, (saying that Buzzbee could have helped the cast get over their inhibitions about swearing in public).
Disclaimer: Unlike seven members of the cast, Bumble stayed fully clothed throughout the show, much to the disappointment of my Nan.

Obviously ‘Annie’ has a strong ‘Care’ and ‘Adoption’ story line, but as Bumble is not in the show, we have avoided the boys asking to go, but we have been asked several times in the run up to the show whether they were coming to see it. Most who asked understood why we felt it best not to bring them to the show, but for some I found myself explaining that we felt the show would stir up too many difficult emotions for them and that they would be unable to cope or regulate themselves in such an enclosed social environment.

Having to explain myself is nothing new to me. I am regularly accused of being too over-protective of my boys when it comes to exposing them to the content of films, TV, books or even stage shows, that I feel will send them into an emotional spiral.

Maybe sometimes they are right at times, but generally if I put the ‘brakes on’ them seeing/reading something I am doing it because it is in their best interests.

Or, am I? Is there part of me that wants to ‘protect them’ in order to ‘protect myself’?

Now, maybe it is just the constant questioning from people about this decision and many others, but it’s started my ‘dizzy’ little brain thinking about my motives for saying ‘No’.

Have I been shielding them both for the wrong reasons? Am I actually trying to protect myself from the fallout of their reactions to the emotional triggers?

Just to be clear! I am not saying that I shelter them from difficult topics because I am ashamed of how they might react in public or how people might judge my parenting. That ship sailed a long time ago and I am the ‘Queen Bee’ of public meltdowns. If there was a university degree course for it, I would have graduated with a First and be working on my PhD.

To the ‘normal’ world I have the ‘patience of a saint’ (inside? Well I am sure most of you can guess what that is like). But, if I was to look beyond the thick public rhinoceros hide, and be honest with myself, I cannot deny that there may be some truth on a subconscious level, about what drives my thinking. I am a human being after all, and in the past, Beeswax especially, has responded to stressful situations in such a way that I have been hurt, objects have been damaged or he has put himself and others in harm’s way because he is in an amplified state of ‘Fight, Flight or Freeze’. Can I honestly say that this doesn’t affect my decisions? No!

Is it right? Maybe not! But I don’t really think there is a correct answer. All I can do is think about what I am trying to achieve and how best to achieve it. I am not a mind-reader (although Bumble and the boys think I am). I sometimes underestimate what they can cope with and I sometimes do get it wrong. But, for better or worse, I have to rely on my judgement and instincts because, in the end, it is Bumble, the boys and I who have to live with the consequences of my decisions.

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4 thoughts on “Who do I think I’m protecting?

    • Thank you, I appreciate you positive comments. I am still pretty new to this. I have been privately writing my thoughts down for as long as the boys have been living with us but sharing my thoughts openly is a whole new kettle of fish.

  1. Only you can judge!
    CHT *loves* stores about adoption and fostering, even though she finds them hard. I think almost every classic ‘childhood’ story she hears does not reflect her experience of life, and leaves her feeling even more a outsider and different. Stories like Annie, Despicable Me, Tracy Beaker, Harry Potter – she loves them as they feel real to her. I think they may also give her a dialogue in which to think about and express the stirred up emotions.
    The fallout issue is really hard, isn’t it! I haven’t read much of your blog yet (looking forward to that!!) but I lean to the ‘better out than in’ side of the tracks. Like your experience, our household is a warzone of anger sometimes (often!). But I can’t help think expressing is better than bottling.
    My mantra has always been that I can’t protect CHT from the reality of her life story, but I can help her learn to process it and navigate it.

    I’d like to share a link to you on my blog roll – i hope that is ok with you? Thanks for your lovely comments on my blog. I am really glad to have met you and found your honest, fantastic story. Mx

    • Yep, I am saying ‘Thank you’ again, I really do apprieciate your positivity and I am honored that you would like to add me to your blog roll.
      I agree with you it is better out than in and I have managed to find a way to use narratives to help them understand what they may be feeling.
      They do watch films like Harry Potter and Meet the Robinsons. It is not generally the ‘adoption/fostering’ theme that bothers them. Usually it is the treatment of the characters (animals especially) and the dynamics of adult/child relationships that throws them completely and trying to cope with it in public places seems to add to their anxiety (and probably mine). Beeswax is probably the most problematic when it comes to topics because he will do anything to try and blank out everything that has links to his past because he has never been able to fully intergrate it and is afraid of showing vulnerability. I think Buzzbee summed it up perfectly after watching ‘Brave’ in the cinema and falling apart.
      “I didn’t know what to do with my feelings. If I was at home, I could have stopped the film for a few minutes and have a break or ask for a cuddle”.

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