We're back from vacation. It was oh so much fun!!
It was also really difficult for Dolly.
You see, we go on vacation to see FAMILY. And family can be complicated.
Dolly is acutely aware of who is who. She knows who my mom is. She knows who my dad is. She knows I've got a sister and a brother. She's really ahead of most kids her age. She understands family connections. And because of this, she knows what she is missing too.
Dolly knows she's not with her mom. She's aware that her bio dad hasn't really been in her life ever. She knows she no longer gets to see certain aunts, uncles and cousins. And when we get around my family (and my husband's), it makes Dolly sad.
It also makes her aware of her full story. Or, better yet, it makes her aware of the holes in her full story. Dolly wants to know what she was like as a baby. Seeing my 8 month old nephew, SB, makes her curious. She saw all of us holding SB. She saw everyone playing with him. She saw him nursing. She saw him sleeping. She saw him being tended to when he cried.
It makes her sad.
Today she came up to me out of the blue and said, "Mommy...when I was a baby, did TT and Bart hold me?"
It nearly broke my heart, but I stopped what I was doing to process with her. I reminded Dolly that she didn't live with us when she was a baby. She lived with Mommy Cathy.
Dolly looked up at me with a hollow look. It was almost like she already knew the answer but she was hoping I'd say something different this time. I asked her if she wanted me to hold her. She said yes so we went over to the couch to snuggle.
Thankfully Dolly doesn't struggle with attachment issues. We were able to sit together on the couch for quite awhile. I held her. We didn't talk much but she did give me lots of eye contact. I do what I can to make up for all that she missed in her first 3.5 years of life. When she first came I fed her at dinnertime a lot. I hold her and hug her all the time. I help her with self-care. (Though, with the head of hair she used to have she had no choice there.) I'm grateful that Dolly uses her strong voice now to ask for what she wants. Holding her today was beautiful.
I asked Dolly if she remembered her mommy holding her. She said no. She said she remembers Mommy Cathy feeding her crackers. I asked if she remembered Mommy Cathy taking her to friend's houses. Dolly said yes. I asked her if she remembers being alone. Dolly said yes again. (The extent of Dolly's neglect came out a bit more over vacation. I believe she and Dude were left completely alone a lot.) During vacation Dolly needed a lot of reassurance that I wasn't going to leave her!! I figured she needed a bit of that same reassurance this afternoon too. I looked her deep in her eyes and told her I wasn't going away. I told her I want her to be an Eldridge. Dolly's eyes lit up!!
Our snuggle didn't take too long. After about 5 minutes or so Dolly decided she wanted a snack. With a bounce and a smile we went in to the kitchen together.
When Mr. Amazing got home I let him know that Dolly was processing "her story" today. We try to keep each other in the loop about emotional stuff like this. Often times Dolly will need to process with both of us but she often doesn't give as much information to the parent she goes to second.
Dolly did want to talk to Mr. Amazing before dinner. This time though, it went like this, "Daddy, Catherine didn't keep me safe."
I don't refer to Dolly's mom as Catherine ever. Most of the time I call her "Mommy" or "Mommy Cathy". Dolly's use of the full name and the lack of the use of the word mommy is profound. My heart breaks for all that she has lost.
I am praying for a miracle on September 9. Every time I get started trying to figure out "what" that miracle should be, God reminds me I don't have to make the plans. I'm just supposed to believe in a miracle.
So believe I am. I trust that good things are going to happen in this case. Dolly deserves it!