You Like Me! You Really Like Me!

 

I’m taking a series of writing courses from a genius.

He’s pretty well known.

He’s unconventional.

And his wisdom is thick and nuanced.

It’s good. The philosophy he shares calls me out on all my crap; crap that I didn’t know I had.

No, it’s not one of those courses where you walk in and are told that you’re something you never knew you were and there’s no way you can do anything about it because it’s baloney anyway.

It’s the kind of philosophy that first awakens and then torpedoes those pesky unconscious paradigms that have formed over time. The personal ones … the ones that you know when you hear them, that they apply to you. You know what I mean. Words that cause a vibration in your soul … words that resonate.

In a way, we are kindred spirits, but only I know that. The only interaction I have with him is when he provides feedback about my assignments or when I ask him a question, which is rare. Wouldn’t want him to think I’m a ding-dong (this, ladies and gentlemen, is a symptom of the problem).

Each course is six weeks long and there are countless options. Sometimes I stumble into a workshop that’s not quite what I expected, like the one I just enrolled in. It’s called Attitude. I thought it was going to be about character attitude.

Nope. Not one little bit.

Yesterday morning when I logged into the Attitude course for the first time and began watching the videos, I realized there’d been some kind of divine intervention. I had considered skipping the next six weeks because the holidays are fast approaching and … well, you know … I wanted to manage my stress. Which is really a stupid thing to say, because …

What happens when you decide to focus on managing your stress?

Bingo!

YOU MAKE IT WORSE!

Anyway, video 5 was the kicker. It’s entitled Validation Search.

Yikes! He got me again.

If you ever meet me in person, there’s a better than even chance you’ll notice that I’m standoffish, aloof, confident, and busy-busy-busy. I’m not really. I just live in my head. I don’t put much effort into offering social grace or being polite because … well … I’m obtuse. I am always surprised when someone tells me that I used to intimidate them.

It’s hard being me.

What do I think about? Systems. Problems with systems. Why those problems exist. How to fix those problems. And, what I can do to help.

The problems that fascinate me the most are the biggest ones, the ones that drive everything else within the context of whatever system I happen to be fixated on. At the moment, I’m fixated on the existence and patterns of humanity, and the questions of meaning that transcend man’s intellectual capacity to answer.

Yes … I’m an all-in type.

I used to fixate on more concrete, practical, and immediately relevant problems. And then I decided to become a writer. This is what happens when you’ve been working in a methodical way towards a series of life goals that are practical, relevant to the here and now, and achievable with hard work and determination, and then suddenly, you decide to retire and switch careers. And then you realize that your opportunities to effect change and help bring improvements have dried up, but you’re still the same person with the brain that’s constantly trolling for problems to solve so as to make the world in question a better place.

And with the drying up of those opportunities to solve stinky problems, there is also no longer any validation of your worth as a master problem solver. Or a person.

So, then you start searching for ways to get it back because, as we all know, we all have a deep-seated need to find purpose in our lives. The purpose itself doesn’t always matter. What matters is that we have one. We’re wired for it. And through living on purpose, we are validated.

Every morning, regardless of when and why I wake up, my youngest daughter tiptoes in, follows me around and, if I’m returning to bed to sleep off my daily morning headache, she tucks me in. She pulls my fuzzy blanket up and over me, smooths it out, pats my tummy with a nod of her head, and then toddles out of the room back to her own bed.

Every day that she’s not at school, which is most days, she sits at her end of the table with her computer and watches me. Given the chance, she will do a Vanna White sweep of her hand, gesturing toward the chair at the other end of the table, beckoning me to get my computer and sit with her so that we can do our work together … because, according to her, we’re the same person.

Every late afternoon when I’m in my office wrapping up, she will come in, wave me over, and then turn around, offering her back for a piggy back ride into the great room for dinner. At 4’8” and 85 pounds, she’s tiny – the same size as her birthmother. I just pretend to ride her back, clopping my feet on the ground like a horse.

The other night, I mentioned this mother-daughter dynamic to my husband, telling him that I even if I set my alarm for 4 am to beat her out of bed, it wouldn’t matter. She is always there.

He said, “We all have our purpose.”

I knew that.

And I didn’t know it. My ego didn’t want to accept it.

My daughter is fifteen. We adopted her at birth. Her mother was from Guatemala, smuggled into the United States by coyotes who repeatedly raped her. When she arrived, her mother and brother, who were already here, took turns beating her. The coyotes had to be paid, so she needed to work. She hid her continuing pregnancy by binding herself up with an ace bandage until she was 8 ½ months pregnant. Forced at that point to find a safe haven, she took courageous action and found someone who was willing to help her.

An ultrasound followed. I learned that the doctor told the birth mother that the baby would be stillborn and that the pregnancy should be terminated. The birth mother said no, and continued to say no for the remaining weeks while under constant pressure from clinic staff to abort the pregnancy.

The image of her skull taken at birth shows a black void where the brain should have been. Although it was difficult to see because of the significant buildup of fluid pressure, it appeared that her brain’s left hemisphere was missing. The doctors didn’t want to venture a guess as to how it happened, but the person most familiar with it, the person who gave her safe haven, believed it was a result of the repeated beatings.

So, get this: At birth, her APGAR scores were normal. Her motor movements were symmetrical. She looked like a normal newborn except for the bulging fontanel (the spinal fluid pressure had compressed the right hemisphere into a narrow sliver of matter running along the inside wall of her skull).

A shunt was installed a few days into her new life and we brought her home a couple of days after that. The ride since then has been extremely bumpy. Through it all, she has been a fighter, a lover, and a presence that sometimes feels divinely blessed.

Today, she doesn’t speak, but she understands everything. She laughs easily. In fact, she smiles so much that her face is nearly frozen into a smile. We do facial exercises that release the tension so that she can close her mouth and stop the steady flow of drool down her chin. I can’t tell you how much time I spend mopping the hardwood floors.

She has CP, suffers from seizures, and sometimes her shunt malfunctions, sending us into emergency neurosurgery. That hasn’t happened since 2013, a good thing (aside from the earthquake that night, wreaking havoc with the IV carts and hospital room fixtures).

She’s also undergone multiple cranial reconstruction surgeries to make her tiny head larger (the shunt reduced the pressure a little too much, allowing her growth plates to fuse prematurely, leading to microcephaly). The fighter that she is, her brain has insisted on growing and developing despite the missing matter, yet as it has, it has also often robbed the shunt of the essential skull space needed for it to function properly. She underwent emergency shunt revision surgery an average of every six weeks in 2009, the year I launched a new consulting firm. I no longer have that firm. God had other plans.

Even with all of this, these harrowing challenges that would have taken me out years ago, she loves. And she loves abundantly, demonstrating an uncanny sense of how others are feeling, and anticipating their needs without any outward signs or words from the one in need. It’s divine love.

This is what I call a BFOTO (Blinding Flash of the Obvious). Despite her constant presence, I have failed to see that I’m the one who gets her loving attention.

And validation.

If that’s not enough, there is something really wrong with me.

Published in Religion & Philosophy
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 20 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Jules PA Inactive
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    Speechless. 

    Blessing to you, your daughter, and the rest of your family. 

    You realize, you fostered her desire to love others, you cleared a path for her gift, right? 💞

    • #1
  2. Sisyphus Member
    Sisyphus
    @Sisyphus

    Bless her and the family that loves her.

    • #2
  3. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Jules PA (View Comment):

    Speechless.

    Blessing to you, your daughter, and the rest of your family.

    You realize, you fostered her desire to love others, you cleared a path for her gift, right? 💞

    Thank you. You are very kind.  I was taken up into something of which I had no control. God does that a lot.

    Merry Christmas and blessings to you

    • #3
  4. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Sisyphus (View Comment):

    Bless her and the family that loves her.

    And bless you too. Your kindness means so much.

    • #4
  5. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Holy Toledo.

    God bless you.

    • #5
  6. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I think you and your family are some of the angels among us. Have a Merry Christmas. :-)

    • #6
  7. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Holy Toledo.

    God bless you.

    :) thank you

    • #7
  8. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    MarciN (View Comment):

    I think you and family are some of the angels among us. Have a Merry Christmas. :-)

    Awwww … that’s really sweet, but believe me, we are no band of angels. The Almighty is super gracious toward us. Thank you and Merry Christmas to you too.

    • #8
  9. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    God-LovingWoman (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Holy Toledo.

    God bless you.

    :) thank you

    My middle daughter has hydrocephalus.  So she has a shunt, as well.  She’s fine though.  No obvious defects.  She’s had a few brain surgeries, she’s on her second shunt, but God has blessed her with good outcomes.  So far, so good.  She’s a junior at Clemson.  Every day is a blessing.

    • #9
  10. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    God-LovingWoman (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Holy Toledo.

    God bless you.

    :) thank you

    My middle daughter has hydrocephalus. So she has a shunt, as well. She’s fine though. No obvious defects. She’s had a few brain surgeries, she’s on her second shunt, but God has blessed her with good outcomes. So far, so good. She’s a junior at Clemson. Every day is a blessing.

    That is so great to hear! A junior at Clemson … what a wonderful thing. Having a shunt is no small thing, especially since she’s on her second. I wish you and her the best!

    • #10
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    You have brought tears to my eyes. I feel blessed to read the story of you and your daughter. G-d bless you both.

    • #11
  12. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Wow. You are doing G-d’s work on this earth. May your home always be a place of blessings and joy.

    • #12
  13. Suspira Member
    Suspira
    @Suspira

    I started reading this because I thought I needed info on writing courses taught by a genius. Maybe that was just the thing for a struggling writer. Maybe it’s not too late to ask for such a course for Christmas.

    Then I got to the crux of your story. Now I know I needed to read this because I need to be less selfish, less me-centered, and much more grateful.

    Thank you.

    • #13
  14. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    You have brought tears to my eyes. I feel blessed to read the story of you and your daughter. G-d bless you both.

    Thank you so much. Blessings to you as well, and a wonderfully miraculous Christmas. 

    • #14
  15. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    iWe (View Comment):

    Wow. You are doing G-d’s work on this earth. May your home always be a place of blessings and joy.

    Oh gosh … I sure hope so. I find myself distracted far too often.

    I have to say how encouraging it is to hear from you and the others on Ricochet who offer such beautiful thoughts. We don’t always find ourselves warmly supported by others, even from our own extended family, but as I sometimes remind both of my adopted daughters, our lives our hidden in Christ with God. (Col 3:3).

    Merry Christmas

    • #15
  16. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Suspira (View Comment):

    I started reading this because I thought I needed info on writing courses taught by a genius. Maybe that was just the thing for a struggling writer. Maybe it’s not too late to ask for such a course for Christmas.

    Then I got to the crux of your story. Now I know I needed to read this because I need to be less selfish, less me-centered, and much more grateful.

    Thank you.

    Oh my gosh! Me too! :) Everyday I deal with the conflict between wanting to focus on writing and wanting to do all that is best for my daughter. She’s my little angel, but she’s pretty dang bossy … and I spoil her, so it’s my fault. 

    If you are interested in writing courses taught by a genius, I can help you there. I’m fairly new to Ricochet so not sure if there is a messaging function, but please feel free to reach out and I’ll give you the info.

    • #16
  17. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Nothing whatsoever wrong with you.

    • #17
  18. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Percival (View Comment):

    Nothing whatsoever wrong with you.

    Ah, you are so kind, but you don’t see the many thorns in my side. There is much that is wrong with me. Thankfully Christ has taken care of all eternal penalties, and continues to work on my soul and character in the here and now. 

    But your comment blesses me regardless. :)

    • #18
  19. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    God-LovingWoman (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Nothing whatsoever wrong with you.

    Ah, you are so kind, but you don’t see the many thorns in my side. There is much that is wrong with me. Thankfully Christ has taken care of all eternal penalties, and continues to work on my soul and character in the here and now.

    But your comment blesses me regardless. :)

    It was meant that way.

    • #19
  20. God-LovingWoman Coolidge
    God-LovingWoman
    @GodLovingWoman

    Percival (View Comment):
    It was meant that way.

    Ah, written with deeper insight. Thank you so much. I should have known.

    • #20
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.