There are seasons when my child is the most beautiful and exquisite being I
have ever laid eyes on. He is funny, thoughtful, charming, earnest, sweet, and a
hard worker. He is gifted, and smart, and we sing together, go on adventures,
and share books, movies, and funny stories. In these seasons I have time for
work, and even sometimes hobbies. I write music and record albums, I
volunteer. In these seasons I watch with pride as my child begins to discover
and recognize all that he is capable of.
When my baby smiles, I know he is my child
When my baby smiles I give him all my love
Then there are seasons when all of my child’s words have teeth, when he is a
torrent of exploding chaos, and he wields anger like a powerful weapon. All of
the turmoil and abuse he endured before we found each other are broadcast
outwards and hatred rains on everyone around him. It is relentless and
exhausting, and we spend the days fielding not just his feelings but yet another
call from the principal, or an upset parent, a concerned neighbor, and yes, even
You were mothered by the Adriatic Sea
every squall, every storm, troubled through your body
Now you shake and you twist
into talon, fang, and fist.
Do you know what it is to be held
the way I hold you now?
We try through it all to help ease his pain and loneliness, to help him see what a
wonderful lovable creature he is, but it is hard and relentless work through every
season, good and bad. I am frequently lonely, tired, and jealous of other parents.
I am also petrified. What if we work this hard to support him and we still fail?
What if he never finds peace, or learns to love himself… even a little? Being a
parent is feeling your heart break a bit every day. Through the hugs and the
punches, it’s knowing that doing everything you can might still not be enough.
When the night is long, with demons coming on
I can help you find your peace, I will sing you back to sleep
It’s these tiny heartbreaks that turn into songs. Memories, stories, and emotions
get woven into melodies, and fortified with chords and harmonies. Sometimes
inside the inner sanctum of a song I find momentary relief, the strength of full
expression like fresh air- calming and holistic. I’m grateful for the moment when
it comes, and then I soldier on to parent my magical, miraculous, brave, and
scarred child another day.
Lissa Schneckenburger is a musician, adoptive parent, and activist in Vermont.
Her most recent album “Thunder in My Arms” is a collection of original songs
inspired by foster and adoptive families on the topics of developmental trauma,
attachment, and resiliency. More information at www.lissafiddle.com