My first impression of you is tiny red nose and palms flat against glass. Your nutmeg hair in pig tales, your big saucer blue eyes full of emotions I didn’t even have the courage to name…
Your first words to me asked if I was your new mommy… I loved you. I wanted to hold you and reassure you. I wanted to not touch you and prove I would not push you into loving me. I wanted to take you home and keep you safe from the world which had hurt you…
I wanted to turn around and leave.
You scared me…
You were so small and full of life. Just below your surface there was an entitled rage that only confronted my internal knowledge that I was not the woman for this job. I knew I did not have what it would take, to be your new mommy.
You only mommy.
I couldn’t do it.
I couldn’t not do it.
Later, as you played on the indoor playground, and you giggled- you challenged me. There, in your wildflower eyes you dared me to stick around. You dared me to love you, no matter what.
You broke my heart, right then and there.
A four year old baby should never know those sorts of sadnesses…
Even later yet, while putting your few clothes into your new dresser, you followed behind me re-packing your things. When I asked why you would do that you said “it’s too hard to pack when this family is over and I have to move.” When the clothes managed to stay in the dresser and your ugly suitcase was moved to storage, you cried. True, fat, salty tears tainted every ache that had lingered in your girlhood eyes, unspoken.
Only hours had passed, since we had met you and yet I felt as though lifetimes had mounted upon my shoulders and nestled in.
I knew that, whether I was up to it or not I had to be your mommy.
My heart begged, in a stabbingly violent and secure way to be your mommy.
For the first time ever, I held you in my arms. Your chubby hands were hitting, and reaching with all your arms could give, behind me- PLEASE, PLEASE,” your tiny voice wailed, throat already swollen and ragging from crying, “I need my suitcase, please let me have my suitcase. PLEASE, i have to have it for when I get a new mommy and daddy.”
Do you remember what I told you, as you glared up at me?
Sweet, beautiful girl, five years from now you will look back and remember this moment and you will know that I told you the truth when I say we are the last mommy and daddy you will ever have. No more families. This is yours, and you belong here, forever.
Today is eight years, exactly, since my promise. Sure, I have been frustrated- but I’ve never wished that wasn’t true.
I love you, baby girl. Happy family anniversary! I love you to the moon and stars and then a whole lot further…