I thought about the little boy who first came to live with us. This tiny toddler who had a dummy in his mouth the entire time. He would put his hand over it if you tried to take it out. It was only ever removed to put in a milk bottle or if I managed to persuade him to let me brush his teeth. He barely spoke. He would shout or cry and his screams broke my heart. He slept in the cot next to my side of the bed and in the night I would feel his teeny fingers reach out to touch me to check I was there. In the end I would keep my hand inside the cot just next to his body. Not touching. He didn't like to be touched unnecessarily. Hugging was a one way street for a long time. We would hug him and he would allow us to, but he wouldn't participate. When we went anywhere he would stick close to us and hide if anyone spoke to him.
This was 4 years ago. Now the story is very different. He has found his voice. Oh has he found his voice. Blue is a funny and engaging little guy. His teacher describes him as fun and kind which makes me so proud. He tells jokes. His laughter rings through the house and it is like magic hearing it. I recall the first time we met him at the foster carers' house and Hubbie was playing on the floor with Blue. He was hiding from him and lifting him up making him laugh. That throaty baby giggle that warms the heart.
Yes he still wakes up crying and sometimes screams too. Early life trauma will do that to a child. I can't tell you how it feels to see your child shaking and sweating with fear and with tears all over his face. Inconsolable and unable to speak. All I know is that I comfort him and keep reassuring him that he is safe and we are here. We are not going away.
Brown Bear and Blue Bear now share a bedroom and a bunk bed. They were so excited to have their first sleepover the other week. My friend Soraya's son came to stay for the weekend and the boys were so excited to see him. They shared space, played and ate together, went to football with Hubbie and generally did boy things. At night when the boys went to bed I would kiss mine and when I went in to check on him I touched his head and wished him goodnight. The thought that he doesn't get a hug from his mummy any more was too much to bear. I didn't want to impose. When he was leaving I gave him a long hug - it was more for me than anything.
This evening Brown Bear was really upset with me. He was tired and wasn't getting his own way. At one point I said,
"Why didn't you ask me to help you ?"
"You're a mum you're supposed to be able to read my mind."
"I have read your mind since the day you were born. I have done everything for you. Now I want to teach you to be able to do things yourself."
He looked baffled.
"One day you will live somewhere else and will have to look after yourself. I won't always do everything for you."
This boy has had me in his life since I put my hand on my belly and gave thanks for his very existence. How do I tell him that I won't always be here ? That his brother and his friend have already lost a mother and he is the only one of the three of them to still be with the woman who carried him. He takes me for granted. It isn't his fault. He doesn't know any different. His brother does. His friend does.
I have enough love for them all. Even if they don't believe it.