Saturday, June 7, 2014

The victories that count

What, my friends, is the conquest of one nation by another? It is meaningless. Each produces the same result. But those fierce fights, when in the dawn of the ages the cave-dwellers held their own against the tiger folk, or the elephants first found that they had a master, those were the real conquests--the victories that count.

Prof. George Edward Challenger
in The Lost World, by Arthur Conan Doyle

With all due respect to Professor Challenger, the victories that count are a bit more pedestrian.  When your daughter sleeps through the night, THAT'S a victory that counts.  When she goes down for her nap without a forty-five minute screaming bout, THAT'S a victory that counts.  When she uses a sippy cup instead of having to be spoon-fed her liquids, THAT'S a victory that counts.  When she stands up without having to cling to some support, THAT'S a victory that counts.  When she learns to walk unaided... OK, that might be a very Pyrrhic victory as I anticipate going from carrying her around everywhere to pursuing her everywhere.

How the horizons of my world have collapsed!

All that being said, it's well to remember that, just because things are going well from MY perspective, they may not be from HER perspective.  This will be increasingly important as she gets older, when I'm ecstatic that she's getting straight A's but she's miserable from too much pressure, or I'm pleased that she's quiet and not running with a bad crowd but she feels isolated and picked on.  An excellent exposition on this by a transracial adoptee may be found here:

Most of us, I think, do the most hardcore soul searching when we are so-called adults. And that is when we really need to feel like we can talk to you, like you won’t be defensive, like you’re open to hearing things we feel embarrassed/ashamed/scared of feeling. That is when we need all the wisdom, perspective and strength that you have gained from continuously reading, learning and embracing this new world in which you decided to relocate when you signed on board…everything you’ve collected while we were doing the important job of growing up.

But one thing at a time, one thing at a time.  I plan to keep focused on (or, at least, aware of) race, culture, identity, and other adoption issues just as I plan to be focused on grades, extra-curicular activies, self-esteem, dating, bullying, and all the other potential problems my daughter may face as she goes through life.

But, for now, those things are taking a VERY back seat to just getting her to take a nap.

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