The days are getting longer even as time is getting shorter. On Saturday, Light of my Life and I went to BARC Housing, where she will live; it was her first visit. Some of the members of the community have quite profound special needs. When they are all home, there’s noise and some chaos that can be daunting. Some of the folks we saw inspired deep tenderness in me, others left me a little shaken and uncomfortable. We want our humanity well defined, neat and tidy don’t we? At least I do, more than I care to admit. I was scared as I showed my daughter this place, scared that as soon as she saw the people who will become her extended family she’d want to run the other way. She sees things I don’t and she understands the world with more openness than I could hope for in myself. At the end of our visit I asked her what she thought and her answer was simple and direct: “It’s cool, mom. I wish I could move in today!” That move is coming so soon now. It is easier to count down in weeks now than in months. There’s about 7 weeks left.
With as much as our girl can’t verbalize, with as much as can and still does go wrong with her that makes our family so fragile, she is still the most absolutely amazing daughter. Ever. On Sunday evening Sherod and I worked with a group of people here at our home until about 7:30. After that, I went on my regular evening walk and by the time I was almost home, it was dark with lots of stars and the moon out, showing me the way. I did what I sometimes do if I have my phone with me. When I was a little more than a block away from home, I called LM and she came hurrying to meet me. We make a game of it–I crouch down and extend my arms wide, she comes barreling into me like we haven’t seen each other in forever. Then we walk the rest of the way home, holding hands. On Sunday evening, we threw ourselves down on the sweet grass in front of the house and looked at the night sky. It felt like something out of Ray Bradbury’s magical book about about summer, Dandelion Wine. Sometime soon after we brought LM home, I found myself making up a song for her, playing on her first name, Luz. Sometimes I call her “Lucerito” (little star) and this little song is about how she’s dressed in light and is my little star. We looked at stars on Sunday night and together sang “María bonita, vestida de luz”. When we got up to go inside, my Lucerito spontaneously reached out and hugged me, something she does very, very seldom. Holding me tight, she said, “Mami, I am going to miss you.”
Every day, LM brings home a “point sheet” that summarizes her behavior for the day and has a space for her teacher to include feedback about things that went well and things that didn’t. Yesterday, Ms. P, Lucerito’s wonderful teacher, wrote that out of the blue in class, our girl announced “I love my mom very much. She takes good care of me”. What an incredible gift, stirred with a tiny twist of bitter irony, that as I prepare to loosen my grip, entrust her to the life she has been given, I get to see that love has had a chance, that for all her diagnosis of reactive attachment disorder, and all the failures to bond this diagnosis implies, she is my daughter and I am her mother.
I end this post with a request. One of the things I love about my Mac is how easily I can take up a book or multimedia project. I am starting on something that may be a book or may be some kind of multimedia piece for LM to take with her. If you have a picture (jpeg, please), a memory, a story or a message about or for her that you would be willing to share with me, I will gather all that together with some of our own bits and pieces. Please send what you would be willing to have me include in this project to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 16th. That will give me time to get it all done by her Birthday on May 16th. Thank you…