Sunday, January 26, 2014

Dear Child F :: 5 yrs old

Dear Child F,
You've been with us for a month and a half and it feels like you've always been part of the fabric of our family. Your patience is unending. You've been through an intense childhood so far and you're taking it in stride. You've been scared, hungry, confused, hurt - and you're still smiling and hugging. You love playing with your sisters and wrestling with your brother. You also are happy to play by yourself. You're always trying to encourage others to play house with you. You love anything and everything that has to do with anything remotely arty. You love to color, paint, playdough.

But a life of unpredictability marks a person. It must. Generally I'm amazed that you're still walking, smiling, hugging, playing, laughing. But then sometimes you'll ask what happens if all your skin comes off or talk about knives or blood seeping from ears. You seem to find glee in these conversations but I think that might be a cover up. Life has been scary and it's not always certain if life is STILL scary. You worry about when the next meal is and what the next meal will be. You surprise me with passionate "I LOVE you!!" through tears after a scare, say a slip on the ice. You also surprise me with passionate "I HATE you!" and also gentle reminders of "I hate you" in quieter moments. "Do you want a hug?" I ask, surprised by my mild child turning on this angry side. "YES!" is your passionate reply. It's scary. Your feelings for us are growing - does that mean you are disloyal to your mom? I don't know that you can articulate that this is the internal struggle, but you seem relieved when I tell you that I love your mom too, very much - and that you can love both of us. Loving me doesn't cancel out mom, your heart just grows a bit bigger to fit all that love inside.

You're just old enough to get what is going on but not old enough to fully get it. We talk about how your parents are working really hard to do what they need to do to parent you again. You ask if they have a hammer and enough nails to get all that work done. You ask if we're "going to town" - your words for a visit with your parents, regularly. Not every day, but more often than not. I blame everything on the judge. He said you get once a week visits - so we have to wait until the day the judge says we can go. I wish we could have visits EVERY day - and so do you. We talk about all the things we like about your parents - but mostly your mom. She's the one you miss and talk about the most. We like that your mom is nice and she gives good hugs but mostly we like her because we love her.

You love to hang your coat next to mine, put your boots next to mine, have a plate like mine. You're trying to figure out your place in our family and your place in the world when the world hasn't always made sense. You're strong and independent and you're five and need your mom. I love you more and more deeply every day but I'm only one of your moms and it shows. I hope, as one of your moms - and right now as the day-in-and-day-out mom, that the very best happens for you. I don't know what that is. Fortunately, for me, it's not up to me. It's up to your parents and the judge. While you're with us I'll mom you all over and hug you through the hard times and the fun times and everything in between. I love you today and I'll love you always, no matter where you live or how big your feelings are or any other thing life throws at us. I'm so sad that I haven't been able to protect you from the craziness life has thrown at you and I'm so very honored to walk for a short time or a long time with you from here on out.

You have a lot of learning to do between now and the next school year. Numbers and letters are all a mystery to you. But you're getting it, more and more every day. You have discovered YOUR letter and your sisters' letters and that's a big step forward. You're able to focus on projects and you're increasingly patient when read to. Thank you for being you.

More and more and more love,

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