The statement that I have been dreading for the last year finally came. I always knew that it would, but I assumed it would be when one of my children was angry at me, or after they got in trouble for doing something they shouldn't have. But I wasn't prepared for the statement to arrive, without warning, in the middle of pleasant days and positive behavior. And I certainly wasn't prepared to hear it from my 5-year-old, who lives more in the moment than any other person I've ever known.
I miss my Mommy. The words hung in the air as she looked at me with more true emotion than I'm used to from her. What do I say? What in the world is the correct response to this? "I'm sorry," isn't going to cut it, and I don't want to show her the hurt that just crept into my heart. And yet there she is.... waiting for me to say something. Anything.
A mere 12 hours prior, we found her sleeping with a picture of her biological mother and brothers. It was tucked under her pillow, just the corner tab protruding out. I stared at the picture for such a long time. I noticed that she looks so much older now than she did in that picture. She still has the same shorts, but I'm pretty sure they won't fit her by the time summer really hits. Her bangs were cut so short and she squinted against the sun as she looked to the camera. Her eyes looked so different then.
As I tucked her in that night, I felt two pangs of sadness. One was for her, and the other for me. The following morning is when she let the bomb drop with words that caused me to choke on my heart just a little bit. I miss my Mommy. Mommy. That's supposed to be my name.... but I'm "A Mommy". She didn't say that she missed A Mommy... she misses her Mommy. Maybe it's because I was rushing to get ready for work, or because the words caught me off-guard while I applied my mascara in the mirror. But the heaviness of her statement followed me throughout my day like a rain cloud, slowly catching up with me until finally settling above my mind. By the end of the day, I felt drenched by the weight of her words.
Cameron, my son, told Taylor that she was free to move out if she didn't like it here (however, he later realized that his only playmate would then be gone, so he graciously told his sister that she could stay). Taylor informed me that she would ask the judge to move back "home", but it's too late because she's already adopted. She waited too long, she said. I talked with her as much as I could in the 4 minutes I had to get out the door for work, and she asked if we could keep talking about it when I got home. "Sure," I told her. And then I immediately realized that I have no idea how to explain this entire situation to a little person! I thought long and hard throughout the day of all the main points I wanted to stress to her... 1) That she was CHOSEN. No other little girls were chosen to be my daughter. We chose her. 2) Your mom was unable to take care of you. She will always love you, but she made choices that weren't good or safe for you to be around. And then there was 3) You'll understand more when you're older. Just know that I love you. You've had three Mommies.... but you're my only daughter. And I'm glad it's you.
Upon arriving home, my daughter with the selective memory of an elephant, reminded me that we needed to finish our talk. And so we did. As I sat on her Dora bedspread, I gave her my three-point speech in a way that could've received an Emmy (if Emmy's were given to people that sometimes trip over their words and say "um" way more than necessary). In return, she told me the things she missed about the first 4 years of her life... things that only a child would think of. And then she came up with reasons why it's better to live here, with me.
"I have clean clothes instead of having to wear dirty ones over and over. I have my own bed and room with toys in it. I have LOTS of shoes. And you teach me to be good.... And I don't have to understand things now, but I will when I get taller, right?"
She hit the nail on the head, she did. Sadly, she is very short.... so I fear it's going to be a while. But my little girl seemed satisfied with our conversation, and that's all that matters in the end, really. Afterwards, I even allowed her to use baby talk and act like a toddler with me. It seemed like she needed it. Maybe it's here way of "nesting" in her new home. Maybe it's what will help her feel like she's getting to be a baby with her new Mommy. Maybe if she gets some of what she should've received back then, she won't miss her old life so much. I know there are plenty of things in my life that I've said goodbye to... even things that were bad for me. It's weird that you can still miss something or someone that was so unhealthy... But I suppose that is human nature. One day, when Taylor is taller, she'll understand that, too.