Time is a circus, always packing up and moving away - Ben Hecht
In an effort to join the brilliant Claudia by joining in the conversation, I tried to think back to a time when I felt the worst about my attachment with the kids. The clearest example would be when I took Meazi to the circus last September. This was going to be a great outing with some of our closest friends; just moms and their girls. I ended up in tears. When we arrived home I went into the house and wailed to Steven, “She hates me.” I cried later too, to my friend who had gone with us with her daughter. The whole afternoon I had been reaching for Meazi both literally and figuratively. I wanted to hold her hand, she refused. She was doing everything in her power not to sit next to me. She went to my two girlfriends sitting with us with hugs, hand holding and other affection I was hoping would be for me.
This combined with the fact that she had just started full time school two weeks prior had me in some sort of attachment freak out. How could I send her off to a school from 7:30-3:00 everyday when I had just met her? Everything we had been working on would be lost, I thought. I needed more time. If you are friends with me on Facebook you may recall that I spent weeks obsessing about finding a school with shorter hours. I searched futilely for a half-day kindergarten thinking that if I had her home by midday, maybe she wouldn’t completely bond with her new teacher instead of me. I don’t know what would have been ‘enough’ time for me with her, it is indefinable.
There are times with Meazi when I think I will always be Just Julie, a poor replacement for her real mother, and there are more encouraging times when I am her Superhero. The truth is that her preferred parent is usually Steven. Initially this is because he was a 'Festive Weekend Dad!' After not seeing him (due to his inevitable 70 hour work week), she would have a weekend full of fun with him. There were no responsibilities, no reason for him to tell her to hustle up and get in the car, or put on matching socks, or share with her brother, it was all about what birthday party do we get to go to today! Or which park should we play at?! Now, after Steven having a couple of months with them where he didn’t work, I see that he is preferred by Meazi not because he is more fun, but because he is a better parent- calm, steady, firm but not harsh. She told me yesterday as she described how salt was made, “Daddy taught me that. Daddy teaches me about most things.” And indeed he does.
Some days I pick Meazi up from school and she throws her arms around me and tells me she missed me. Other days she does everything she possibly can to avoid me, grabbing another mom’s hand for the walk to the car. When I feel particularly distant from her I try to engage her in an old fashioned staring contest. She always wins having a remarkable way of not ever blinking. At these moments I take the opportunity to stare into those gorgeous eyes of hers and try to let her know that my eyes are open to her, my heart is open to her, and that I would do absolutely anything to have her sit next to me at the circus.
Melese, my Melese. Oh Melese, my former barnacle! I feel stronger about my attachment with the tortuga. He looks me in the eye, he gives me so much unsolicited affection. He comes to me for comfort. He says “Mommy,” as he throws his arms around me right before he falls asleep. His first word of the day, nine times out of ten, is ‘Mommy.” Although all of this is great, I have left him with someone other than Steven only twice in 19 months- the first time with my mom and dad so that I could go to the dentist, the second time yesterday at the YMCA. The first time was fine, yesterday was not. If he were securely attached I think I could leave him and he would know I am coming back. We will have to work on that.
I think about time now, more than I ever did before. Time is always packing up and moving away. I feel like I am in the middle of a very crucial time period in regards to attachment. I don’t want to blow it. I don’t want to miss my window, especially with Meazi who seems to gain two years, both physically and mentally, every two months. (Already putting an I-touch on next year’s letter to Santa, and constantly asking about getting her ears pierced).
she is like a tin of these, no shell, smooth, ready to be shared and enjoyed.
In a nutshell, (he he enough already huh?) It is a process. I feel privileged to know these nuts. We are working it out. We have the rest of our lives to get it right.
I will always reach for them, whether they reach back or not.