Now and again, I find little blurbs that I have written and tucked away in journals and notebooks, or little notes saved on my desktop, written when a mood or a memory struck me. Whenever I find them and re-read them, I can remember the exact moment of what happened, what was taking place, and my desperation to either get through it, survive it, or remember it forever. This morning, I found this little blurb, written during a particularly tough morning at work, a few days after our first little was reunited with her mother:
My heart is changed. It’s learned the stress and ache that can come from loving someone so much without reciprocation. I never knew what one-sided love was like – I was born into a loving family and my husband loves me as I love him. The fierceness that drives the level of love that you have for these kids who don’t know you, and therefore don’t love you right off the bat is such a wild experience. You have to earn their trust and help form that love without expectation that you’ll ever feel any benefit in return, and look for small milestones instead. The moment when she let me bathe her without crying. The night when his arms wrapped around my neck for the first time. Watching them gain their footing and feel secure enough in our home to explore it for the first time and get into things like toddlers do. It’s those things that tell me that love is there, and my heart has learned to downright bask in it. I’ve tried to train my heart time and time again to remind myself that these are not my children, but it rarely listens. Instead, it has said, “For today, she is.” Except now, today she isn’t. None of my senses comprehend this. My ears are listening for her babble in the monitor, my eyes are looking for her in her crib, my nose is craving the smell of shampoo on her hair after her bath, and my arms want to wrap around her for one of her one-second hugs before she busied herself onto her next activity. My heart knows how much she loved us though, because of how much she trusted us to allow her to progress into the wild, happy, curious kid that she is. That will have to be good enough.
I have learned to accept that it was enough.