...better out than in.
Today, still pondering the source of my negative thinking processes of the past couple of weeks, I'm feeling ready to explore them more openly. I've been trying very hard to balance enjoyment of my new found freedoms with the unease I've experienced over changing my daughter's and our own living arrangements. To begin, let me just say that Rachel IS happy, and blossoming. She loves her new roommates and has, over the course of a month, found new loot to plunder. She always ways a nosy young girl-forever stealing things that never belonged to her-and now she has 3 new people to swipe things from. I think they've all got her figured out though and are learning to shut their bedroom doors in order to protect their possessions.
Feeling relatively pleased, not to mention relieved, I'm thrilled for my daughter that the changes for her have been positive. Her caregivers are responsible and nurturing. Not one of them strikes me as unreliable. One is a little goofy, but not in a bad way-more in an eccentric way. Her primary caregiver has turned out to be the best, and I'm always confident when I know she is around. Although I've never asked her, I'm quite certain her sexual orientation is different from mine. That doesn't bother me in the least. Her appearance with full sleeved tattoos doesn't either. My daughter appears to adore her, and I've grown to like her too. In addition, Rachel's roommates are loving their new living arrangements. The one I worried about the most, is doing the best. She is stable, pleasant, outgoing and her own health has improved significantly now that she is in a supervised setting.
After about a month away, I started to let my guard down and tried to learn to relax. I joined the spinning class and started going out for late night dinners or a drink with my husband. I can stay up late on a weekend without worrying about Rachel being awake at 6 AM and needing my attention. In short, I was beginning to enjoy myself. Then the phone rang.
It was a weekday afternoon when Rachel's primary caregiver called to discuss my old neighbor Quickhide. It seems Quickhide has taken it upon herself to criticize everything that's going on in Rachel's Place including, but not limited to, the following litany of complaints:
- I could never abandon a child of mine like that.
- If you put the garbage cans on the side of the house, I will call the city to complain about you.
- Rachel's mother is going to hell for doing this to her.
- Why are you people coming and going like that?
- I'm going to complain that they are running a business from this house.
- I don't like where you put the garbage cans so close to my lawn on Sunday nights.
- Why are there black women taking care of Rachel?
- It's a sin what they did just leaving their daughter like this.
- I refuse to look at those garbage cans you have on the side of the house.
- If that school bus wakes me up one more time, I will call the police.
- I feel so sorry for what they did to their daughter.
I couldn't make this rubbish up if I tried. I was dumbstruck, and so was the caregiver. Since the primary complaint, besides her disdain for my parenting techniques, seemed to be centered around trash cans, I told the caregiver to hide them in the back of the house. Then I waited-too stunned to do anything at the time. And therein lies the crux of my problem. You see, it goes against my grain to be so tolerant in the face of cruelty, bigotry and downright meanness. Quickhide needed a comeuppance in my book. I spoke with the county facilitator who manages the home and she told me that the best thing to do is to placate this woman. Not feeling able to do this, I gave the job to my husband. After all, who was better suited to talk to a crazy Syrian woman, than one who was raised by a half-mad Syrian father?
I know in my heart that I can't sway the thoughts of others, and I don't mind that so much. What I do mind is why people feel it's their job to vocalize their uninformed and hateful opinions. The house is clean, the yard is well kept, the women are quiet. Yes, some of her caregivers are women of color or differing sexual preferences. So what? Does that make them less worthy of working with these women? My husband told me that Quickhide said the one with the tattoos was, what was that? Oh yeah, "she's a rough one." Please. She has tattoos. That makes her tough, not rough. I've come to rely on this particular woman the most. Of all of Rachel's new caregivers, this woman seems to have it all going on.
I'd hoped that having my husband talk with her would be the end of it, but sadly, it isn't. She is still making her passive-aggressive comments to the staff and they're all very personal barbs about my abandonment of Rachel. And I'm doing a very slow burn, but inching toward the boiling point. When unleashed, my temper is an impressive and frightening thing to behold. In my fifteen years of avoiding Quickhide, she has never seen my temper. I worry that's about to change.
Lord, please give me the wisdom I need to deal with the ignorance and hatred of others in a more peaceful way than I'm currently feeling, and grant me the insight I need to appease people who seem impossible to please. And Lord, I know this may sound a bit cheeky, but if I have asked for patience (or strength) in any way, shape or form, I'd like to take that back. I think I've been tested enough. Amen.