I love you…
I could not get myself to say those three tiny words just yet… I would walk around the house, with this new baby in my arms and I would say “I love you!!! ARGH… SOON!!! I can’t lie… I don’t love you yet, but I promise that I will love you soon.” I felt horrible, guilty, strange… It had taken a few weeks for me to fall in love with Timbits, but weeks turned into months and I still could not say those three tiny words to Baby J.
I am sure many biological parents can relate. Many of you actually expressed that to me when I felt like a bonafide babysitter for Timbits’ first weeks with us. Love grew though. Boy did it! He is my little monkey, my true love, my baby, my number 1! He makes me laugh non-stop, has me in awe and I find myself saying those three tiny words to him so much that I expect him to say “ok ok lady… I know” any day now! I therefore anticipated that I would not immediately love this new baby when they dropped him off on our doorstep last December, but I did not expect the love to be so slow to come.
The excitement (or stress) of this second child arrived with the excitement (or stress) of the holidays. With family visiting non-stop until New Years and everyone excited to meet Baby J, it wasn’t until the dust settled that this unnerving feeling hit me. It’s hard to explain, but I will try. I had wanted a child so badly, and I had tried so hard, that when Timbits arrived, it came with “finally”, “it’s happening”, “this is so exciting”! We fell in love with Timbits before knowing his biological parents, before knowing the system, before knowing some of the red tape and roadblocks that we would face as foster parents. Before knowing how it really felt not being the biological parents.
That knowledge changed us.
Therefore, when Baby J arrived, it came with “is this the right decision”, “do we want to go through the system again”, “are we ready for round two”? Deep down, we knew the answers were all yes, but you somehow find yourself asking those questions and feeling the icky feeling that comes with that doubt. Instead of falling in love with a child before knowing everything, we knew everything before falling in love with the child – and let me tell you, it made the falling in love part so much harder. It was so unfair… but our brains couldn’t help recognizing the biological parents in facial expressions, seeing the system in his lack of birth certificate or medicare, feeling the pressure of those roadblocks that we now anticipated instead of tackling them as they came. So when I held Baby J and put him to bed at night, I whispered “I love you” then hesitated and added “soon”.
Then I cried… I felt guilty that “soon” was not coming fast enough. I also cried from the sleep deprivation. I cried from my lack of experience with a newborn. I even found myself letting him cry a little longer some days in order to take a breath and manage my emotions before going in and managing his. However, through the tears, I noticed how resilient this little human was. He was only 5 months old, had been taken away from his Anaana, taken away from his first foster family and he was now in the arms of a lady who couldn’t say I love you… Yet he smiled every time I picked him up. Curled his fingers when warm milk touched his tongue. Squeezed Timbits when he came in for a hug. Twitched happily whenever he saw Alex. He settled into a routine and settled into our lives. With that, the guilt moved aside and the knowledge that time would eventually do its thing reassured me.
He’s been with us for three months now. He is a teething spunky little 8 month old. He sits without help, masters the G.I. Joe crawl, rolls over, sleeps through the night and babbles all day. He has two cute little dimples on the same cheek, razor sharp nails that seem to always find themselves digging into my arm during feedings and a Hercules strength grip for any hair strand that falls out of my ponytail. He has this devilish little smile in his eyes when he refuses to nap. He gets cranky when he wants to join Timbits and Alex in play or if our food looks better than his. He throws up like that possessed girl in The Exorcist and poops seconds after I change his diaper. He still exhausts me. However, as I held him in my arms today, as he pulled my hair and giggled out loud, I found myself saying “I love you” and then hesitated… but there was no “soon”.
Three tiny powerful words came in time and soon I won’t be able to stop saying them!
TO BE CONTINUED…
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