I had an epiphany yesterday.
We weren’t doing anything special. Maybe that is what made it significant.
It was a Monday. Monday mornings are hectic around here. Getting the two older kids to school can be hard on Monday mornings. Then, I have about a 10-minute gap during which I come back to the house with the two younger ones, get some dishes done or throw a load of laundry in and then take Drew to preschool. I usually go to the grocery store after dropping him off and shop for the week with Lydia in tow—something that often becomes stressful for both of us.
This particular Monday, I had some extra errands to run. So, we did the grocery shopping and still had three more stops before it would be time to pick up Drew. Since Lydia is crazy very active, I brought the hip carrier I use and carried her in that to try to contain her a bit.
This was the set-up for my epiphany—clearly, nothing extraordinary, just normal life.
It was at the second stop as I was toting her around, occasionally petting her flyaway wisps of brown hair and giving her kisses on her forehead when she would snuggle extra close and tuck her arms in tight to me and dialoguing with her constantly (as of this weekend, she has officially entered the “why?”-stage), that I had my epiphany.
I love this little girl. She is my daughter. Every little idiosyncrasy of my reaction to her was because I am her mother and she is my daughter. Every answer to her “why?”s, every glance down at her, every pat on her back and pet of her hair, every smile in response to someone we past by who smiled at her…all was because I felt completely normal with her on my side, literally attached to me. And, it was really a good feeling.
I realized that as well as I thought attachment had been going for the last year, as committed as I was to her, as much as I loved her and loved seeing my husband embrace her and the other children dote on her, there had been something missing, a very important thing missing.
When we first brought her home, we had the opportunity to meet with an attachment therapist as part of a research study. I remember at one of these meetings towards the end, she asked me a pointed question along these lines, “Many adoptive parents say that it takes them a little while to really feel like their adopted child is their child. Do you feel like she’s yours?” Yes, yes, I answered. She’s mine. I can’t imagine her anywhere else. And, yet, there was some small amount of disconnect. I attributed it to her bonding with Mark more than me. She clearly likes him more, I thought. She sees me more as a glorified caregiver, I thought. Maybe that’s why she bonded to Mark more than me.
But, yesterday, there I was walking around in one of the most mundane places. And, there, God did it again. He made the unholy, holy. He made the ordinary, extraordinary. There I was, shopping for jewelry displays, and I realized I was holding my daughter.
And, my heart grew big.