You Will Not Be My Forever Mommy
Nicki wrote an interesting post the other day about attachment being a journey, and journey through, not necessarily a journey to. I'm trying to keep that in mind when our own attachment dance gets off kilter.
I spend a lot of time feeling like we take two steps forward and one step back. Which is an improvement over the first few months of parenting Lana, which often felt like taking one step forward and two steps back.
It is not always easy to parent a child who is old enough to know that she has been given away. More than once.
It is not always easy to parent a child who loved the mother who mothered her, and who knew that mother loved her, even as that mother took her back to the place of her original abandonment and then walked away.
I cannot imagine how unbelievably painful that must have been for Lana's foster mother. I met her. I believe she was well-loved and well-cared for. I know it hurt her to hand her to us.
Last night Lana had a very rough night. She was over-tired (she had spent the night before with my sister and brother-in-law and their kids, which meant she was up late and woke up early). She threw an extremely impressive fit. Several in fact, one after the other.
She was upset, legitimately so, because Gabriel has a ton of friends in the neighborhood and Lana doesn't really have any. I understand her distress about this, I do, but, I cannot waive a wand and create a posse of 4-to-6-year-old-girls out of thin air. There is a five-year-old girl next door, but, she has rebuffed Lana's efforts to make friends. (The child is a twin, and I've never heard her speak to anyone but her twin brother. The twins play with each other almost always, and rarely with other kids. Which kind of sucks, because it would be nice if they would play with my kids, but, they don't.)
Anyway, the point is, Lana doesn't have any friends in our immediate neighborhood, and Gabe has lots, and last night she was really really upset about that, because Gabe was playing with his friends and Lana was wailing, "I don't got no one to play with," over and over.
Then there was fighting over who could be with me in the TV room, and Lana wanted to have, "mommy all to myself" - and a fight ensued and there was screaming and wailing and gnashing of teeth and it just. wasn't. pretty.
She curled up next to me as I was putting her to bed, and I rubbed her back for a while, and sang "Clementine" and "Five Little Ducks" and I said, "I love you," and she said,
"You will not be my forever mommy."
"I will be your forever mommy," I said. "I will be."
"No," she said. "You will not be. Not forever and ever. Not for always and always."
"Forever and forever, for always and always, I'm your mommy."
"I don't like you," she said.
That broke my heart a little bit, but I said, "But I still love you."
"Goodnight mommy," she said.
Before I closed the door, I told her again, "I am your forever mommy, Lana." She didn't answer.
She cried in her sleep, a lot, last night. She does that when she is overtired, and when she has had a bad fit. It's like she continues the argument in her dreams.
This morning she gave me a bunch of kisses and said, "I love you mommy." And before I walked out the door she ran to me and said, "one more kiss, mommy, one more hug." So I gave her one more kiss and one more hug, and she was in a good mood.
But I still don't know if she believes, deep down, that I am her forever mommy.