>Sonar: Older Child Adoption Adjustment

>I’ve been thinking a lot about Sonar.  Radar systems.  About technology that can scan the skies or the voids and have different weather patterns or objects be visible, from eddys in water flows to wind patterns….storm systems to cold fronts, big fish to submerged danger.

How do you make what can’t be seen to the naked eye, be seen?
Sonar Display
Well, that’s where these systems come in, and really, they are cool.
I want one.  
But I want the interpersonal mood system format.
Because with four, count em, four girls in the house, I need an ongoing alert system to the changing mood patterns and storm systems in our changeable girly mood house.  

But, hang on, actually, I have one. 

No, not mine…though I do have a pretty good radar system for all that.  And perhaps, as it’s been pointed out to me (ahem) I lean on that too much, and overstep.  Sigh.

But what I have come to realize is that we have, in our newest daughter, a very finely tuned system of mood alert. 

I was thinking it’s really a radar system, akin to mine.  
But it’s not, it’s different. 
In fact, I’ve decided it’s a SONAR system.
It is not for the above the surface interactions or flaunted attitude or mood; not for the  nuances of interaction and reaction. That would be radar.  

Her scanning is remarkable for the subsurface sweeps of the moods that are, or are trying to be, submerged.  It’s definitely a SONAR system.  

Yup, we have a high grade finely tuned, walking sonar in our house.  
It’s called “Marta.”
She has a constantly alert scanning sweeping sonar beam for any little shift or frisson of mood.  
It’s remarkable.
And, often it’s pain in the backside.  

Because it’s sweeping scans are trained tightly on her new mom and dad, the other kids will get caught in the sweep sometimes, but really only on the periphery.  The tight lock-on…that’s for mom and dad.  

So, if I am in a funk…….lock on.
A snit….lock on, beep beep beep!
Heaven forbid, her dad and I have had any disagreement, big or small…..clanging alarms go off for this girl and she breaks down. 
Because her sonar is equipped with the bells and alerts and reactive torpedos.
Unfortunately, it is not equipped with a sorting device to decide which of those mood alarms are “threats” and/or which are “friendlies.”  
Meaning, if I am crying happy tears over a sweet song one of my big boys wrote and played for me, or if I am cranky from a sleepless night or actually stewing over an argument…there is no differentiating.  It sends her into a mirroring funk and/or tears; hers not so simple to stem.  

On the other hand, her sonar translates to the skill of empathy.  
This sonar, this remarkable pain in the neck silent constant sweep of alert, translates into both a protective mechanism/survival skill for her but also into an inate ability that surely can be trained into a skill to grow on.  To grow with and into.  

It is challenging to translate and explain it all to her, those nuances that are usually embedded in the moods she locks onto. 
Much of the time, it is impossible.  
Thus, it challenges us, her mom and dad.  
It challenges us to be stronger steadier; to not fall into the ease of a sucking gripping mood.  It challenges us, no, ME, to get a grip and detach from what’s useless and focus on what’s important.  Which usually means to let go of my own selfish hurts (which is why I’m still failing at this and being challenged by it) and to keep my eyes on the bigger picture….even as I have to look at the very small 4’11” picture of a real life girl just trying to surf those subsurface tides.  


Tom has a GPS/sonar on his boat.  It shows him all the submerged hazards and the deep channels and the shallow shoals.  
He uses it to safely navigate the waters of a murky lake.  
Our Marti, she has this same GPS sonar built into her small self.  It has surely helped her navigate the murky waters of this new family and new phase in her life.   The trick for us all is and will be to learn how to use this sonar together, to help each other understand the pings that alert each other to the shoals and shallows and deep waters.  


Ping!


5 thoughts on “>Sonar: Older Child Adoption Adjustment

  1. >I always love your deep analogies. I feel for Marta, this ability is kind of tough sometimes. It is amazing how being a steady mom can have such a huge influence on one's kids.

  2. >"It challenges us, no, ME, to get a grip and detach from what's useless and focus on what's important. Which usually means to let go of my own selfish hurts (which is why I'm still failing at this and being challenged by it) and to keep my eyes on the bigger picture."My sweet friend, you really hit the nail on the head here! Turning point for me was when I finally let go of "me" and succumbed to the "season" of life I'm now in. Every day, somedays easier than others, I have to put away my own selfish desires for the sake of my children.Thanks for sharing…and being real! Love you!

  3. >I think this uncanny ability to sense moods must go hand and hand with the hypervigilance of children who have lost so much. They are always watching, sensing, listening. We have one little girl who is incredibly good and positioning herself to hear all quiet parental discussions. Another who is sure that divorce is pending if there is any tension in the air. I love that you are looking for the positive aspects — empathy and sensitivity.It's always nice to stop by and read your good words.Lisa

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