Ever since I first began thinking about adoption with any level of seriousness I've had a fear of my child saying in anger something to the effect of "You're not my real Mom". This could of course be said in so many different ways and I imagined many of them. I knew this kind of statement was inevitable, I just didn't expect to hear it tonight for the first time.
Today was the first day back in daycare after a week long break and the kids were wired when they got home. I'm sure it had something to do with the combo of rain equaling inside play all day in a small area and the birthday cake they had there. I haven't been feeling well so a I didn't have dinner at the ready and decided to whip something up quickly. The kids picked at their tuna melt begrudgingly because they didn't like it but really wanted a little of the chocolate donut (aka Bundt cake) left over from the weekend. After 5 minutes of picking and giggling we called it quits and I began cleaning Little Miss up.
As I grabbed her hand I heard her say "No! I want my Mommy." I looked at her and said "Oh?". She then looked me square in the eye and said "Mommy Jennifer". This is the first time she's ever said her birth mother's name on her own, without repeating what I've just said. I asked her if she remembered Mommy Jennifer and she nodded her head yes. I told her I was glad she remembered her and unbuckled her booster seat.
She got down from the table in a bit of a foul mood knowing there was no cake in her future. She quickly ran off to grab a toy to taunt her brother with so he'd chase her around the house. Both kids began to run and giggle. The cake was long forgotten in a mater of minutes.
I was left hurt, confused, curious about her memory, and in awe that something we've been talking about has sunk in and that my little girl was smart enough to know just how to use that information. She somehow knows just the right button to push at just the right time. Did I mention she's just shy of 3 1/2? I'm in trouble.
As I analyzed my thoughts on the exchange and Little Miss bounced off the walls I knew I was bigger than feeling upset about this. I knew this was not an "adoption" problem. I could make it that but it's just a twist in our story that can be used as a "card". The same card can and does get played with step parents or single parents. In the end I would have felt the same way if she's said "I hate you" which she pretty much said when she told me she didn't like me before running off from the table. I know it won't be the last time she says it and I know times in the future she'll really mean it. The bottom line is I need to set my feelings aside during the rough times because that is what gets me going and sends us on a course to butt heads.
When about 30 minutes had passed I showed Little Miss the photo we have of them with their Birth Mother and asked her who it was. She pointed to herself and her brother right away but said she didn't know who the woman was. I told her it was Mommy Jennifer and she said "oh, her?" then ran off. Ok, this wasn't the pent up ammo I imagined. No, she doesn't have a clear memory of her Birth Mother.
This is only the start of a long and difficult road. The embrace and "I love you" I got from Little Miss as she went to bed tonight were also a reminder it's a road filled with the highest of highs and lowest of lows...sometimes in the span of just an hour.