(Feel free to skip to the video at the bottom if you haven’t watched it on facebook or youtube yet. I mainly wanted to capture these initial thoughts, feelings and observations during the changes taking place in my life right now. I get a bit wordy.)
Finally we saw some real tears today.
Backing up a tad to the visitation days. It was a funny frustration, but still unnerving, to think of this child as my own, yet to never have seen her use the bathroom. Silly, I know! Still, it was not until the third day that I saw her use her little potty seat. It was a gratifying moment, to say the least.
Now back to today. Aside from the bathroom thing the other thing eating at me was that I had never seen her cry. Sure, her lip quivered a couple times and she winced and whined at a few things. And I should have been completely grateful that we had heard her laugh more than once. Which, by the way, a child’s laugh is the most wonderful sound in the world. The caregivers told me that she was a brave child. I get that. Still, I wanted to experience tears with her.
Today that happened, more than once.
The first time was when I had to tell her no. The tension had been building and the limits were being tested. A new house with new things means learning the barriers. The tears on her cheeks wet an angry face. She is the strong silent type. No wailing, not a peep, just the death stare and tears.
The second time was a double whammy of wills clashing and possibly fear of abandonment. It happened quickly. I had been complying all day every time she wanted to be held, which was about 75% of the time. The evening was upon us and I needed to tend to some other people in the house. I did the unthinkable and put her down off my lap and outright ignored the lifted arms as I turned my back and walked away from her. Then came the music to my ears. She cried! This was the tears and the audible crying out. It broke my heart and soothed it at the same time. Please understand that I am not reveling in the pain I knowingly inflicted. I am just glad that we are getting to see a new part of her personality. We are getting to know each other. The beautiful thing that followed was that Gabrielle found an opportunity to create a connection with her little sister, a connection that has been slow in coming. The older asked me if she might help the younger. I said she was more than welcome to. Gabrielle offered her arms and a reluctant yet desperate two-year-old Kaitlynn found her way over to comfort. The next half hour the two cuddled, played and cuddled some more. It was precious.
The third and final bout came at bath time. I was so excited to introduce my daughter to the joys of rubber duckies in a nice warm bath. It was all too new and quite frankly terrifying. I watched her eyes grow big as we started filling the tub. Then I pulled her to my lap and took off the first shoe. A scream, a jump, and she was letting it rip as she clung to my neck. The wonderful thing of it all was that she felt safe enough to cry. I let her cry it out as I continued to gently prepare her to enter the water. She is complacent so we didn’t have a hissy fit to deal with. She was just genuinely scared and seeking safety. Even as her tiny feet found firmness on the floor of the tub and the water lapped at her calves she was trying to suck in her lip to stop the crying. I let her stand and watch me play with the ducks. She found the courage to reach down and splash a little. I asked her if she wanted to sit down. She said, “Si.” Then she actually had fun! I could hardly get her out. Then all through Tyler’s bath she tried to climb back in the water.
You know, I think God wants us to feel safe enough to cry when we are with him. I think that He is just strong and confident enough to not get his feelings hurt if we let our angry tears show when we are mad at Him. I think that He wants to know our insecurities so that He can direct us to the loving arms that will hold us, even when they come from an unexpected source. I think He wants us to be honest in our emotional display with Him when we are terrified to do something that we know He is going to have us do, and that He will help us to do regardless of how we cry and cling to Him hoping He doesn’t make us face our fears.
The tears Kaitlynn cried today showed me that she is letting her guard down and we are getting to know each other. So many other things happened this Bolivian Mother’s Day, good things, fun things, heart warming things, exciting things, hard things, surprising things, etc. I am so just thrilled to share this important milestone and write it for posterity.
Now, the promised video. It is four minutes long and shows both video and images of our time with Kaitlynn thus far set to music. Enjoy!