Remind me again that this gets easier, would you?
One step forward, two steps back. I keep telling myself that, I keep trying to overlook the little things, to be the Grown Up with a capital G. Sometimes it is harder than others.
We ARE making progress, I know that. Or at least I keep hoping so. Other times, it feels like not so much. Tonight is one of them.
Tonight I feel like any orphanage mama in any city just doing the job but not even getting the measly paycheck attached, for that is sort of how I have been treated today. It hurts, it is so hard to keep a smile pasted on when you walk quickly back to the bedroom to shed a few tears.
We decided to move forward with 4H, seeing lots of good things that could come from it for our family. Kenny, Angela and Olesya all want to do a rabbit project, so we sat them down on the couch and told them that we would go ahead with it. There was lots of excitement out of all 3, they really loved the babies they saw at the 4H information night, and I sort of convinced Dominick that I thought we should do it. Big hugs for Daddy.
For Mommy, Angela gives a handshake.
Later she throws Dominick's dirty socks at me, as if it were a joke. I wasn't in a joking mood. She came to me for the obligatory (obviously) good night hug, and I get barely touched and she turns and walks away. I wanted to stick out my hand for a handshake, but realized how un-Christ-like that would be. Right now, that is all I can lean on to make it clear how to act, for my natural human instincts want me to be a very different person tonight.
I can't tell you how hard it was to sit there without letting her see how that hurt, to act like it was OK. It wasn't, and even as I sit here typing it I am crying.
The hardest part of all of this, is that you begin to look back over your previous few days and doubt if what you were seeing was real, if the connections you thought were slowly building were all a figment of your imagination or if you are fooling yourself. You don't want to think that, you want to see and feel progress.
It is sort of like riding a horse and getting bucked off, groaning as you get back on your feet and use your hat to dust yourself all the while cursing under your breath that "No horse is going to do that to me, I'll show it who's boss!". Most important of all you want to get back on the horse and ride it again without any of your emotions being exposed intuitively to your horse in the way you hold the reins.
And I am sure that explanation makes absolutely no sense at all.
I am just another woman cooking, cleaning and washing clothes...and not doing a very good job of that as she went to put her PJ's on and they were in the hamper where she placed them this morning wanting me to wash them. We won't talk about how I spent 4 hours driving them back and forth and watching them at the pool and playing racket ball with them.
I don't want to be just another in a long line of caretakers. I want to be Mom.
Not sure if we will ever get there.
At least the socks that were thrown were soft, even if they weren't clean.
As I was typing this Dominick went back into the bedroom after seeing Olesya hike back and forth between living room and their bedroom after Angela was supposedly going to bed. He pulled out a chair, turned on a desk lamp and from below asked Angela if she was happy. She said "Malinky happy". He asked her to come down and talk, and pulled out the other chair for her to sit in. He said she sat down and immediately hung her head and started to cry as he talked to her trying to find out what was wrong. She said "Mama no sad". I guess Olesya must have seen me come out after Angela had gone to bed with red rimmed eyes and gone in to talk to Angela about it.
I am sitting in the chair in our bedroom when he comes in with Angela wrapped up in her pink blanket crying. I get up and hold her close, and her head is hanging between she and I, we both are crying softly, not speaking. Dominick leaves the room.
I pull her onto my lap in the chair and for once she comes willingly, at least for this moment. She lays her head on my shoulder and buries her face in the blanket as we both cry. She said "Mama...no sad...no sad." . I tell her quietly through my own tears how much I love her, how I have loved her for so very, very long. I share with her how many nights I cried wanting her and Olesya to be home with us. I add that I want to be a good Mama for her, that I never want to hurt her. I say how sorry I am that her first Mama was so bad, that I know this is very hard for both of us...but that even when it is hard I will always, always love her.
I hear a softly uttered "Me too...".
We sit there like that for awhile, quiet as the tears begin to subside. I rub her back, cradle her as best I can with that long body of hers as I rock her. She sits up as if to leave, then decides to remain there a little longer with my arms around her. Finally, she gets up to go to bed and turns to me saying again "Mama, please no sad". I stand up and hold her, and she gently begins to rock my body a little, trying to soothe me and offer me comfort. I then walk her to bed, heading up the ladder to tuck her in.
As I turn to leave, she leans over the side rail saying once again "Mama...no sad...no sad.". I say "It's OK....good night...I love you." and slowly leave the room and walk down the darkened hallway.
Dominick met me back in our bedroom to explain what had happened before she came in. He said it was obvious something was going on as Olesya was going back and forth and did not look at him as she normally would, which prompted him to go check on Angela.
It is Dominick's theory that we are seeing the hurt child start to come out, far earlier than we expected. He thinks this is a sign, despite actions that appear to be to the contrary, that Angela indeed does feel close to me and safe enough with us to share things.
It is hard to be the target, it is hard to ignore the gentle rejection that comes in subtle ways day after day, it is hard to focus on the progress that you know is being made when in between it stings so much. I unkindly said that I wished at moments that once in awhile HE would be the target of all this emotion. Instead, he gets to be the one who receives the easy affection, who has her lean on him all the time when they snuggle side by side on the couch. He is Mr. Fun Time Dad and I am...well...left wondering who I really am to her.
The saddest thing is. that it is not the fault of a single person living under our roof.
Understanding that doesn't make it any easier.
What will tomorrow bring? Will it bring stony silence as the discomfort of the opening of her soul tonight settles in over her? Will it bring a new closeness as we discover that yet another barrier has been broken down that separates us? Or will it simply bring another day like any other, with the good...the bad...and the sometimes uncomfortable.
Oh how I wish my tears could give us both back her lost childhood! How I wish I could have nurtured both she and Olesya so that her hardened heart wouldn't have to be cracked open and a new, softer one revealed within. The eggshells lay between us, tiny jagged little pieces, each a remnant of an old life that neither of us was in control of, and yet both of us are subjected to the results of it. The egg still remains with most of the shell intact, waiting for the inevitable peeling back as the firm yet tender unblemished white and yolk heart are revealed. The crack widens ever so slightly as more pieces fall to the ground to be crushed underfoot in an unceremonious "Good Riddance" dance. It is two sets of feet waiting to prance around over those shells, hers and mine, someday with arms intertwined and broad smiles expressing joy in the closeness we feel for one another. How I would love to take off my shoes and kick up my heels in celebration of that day.
How I hope we make it.