everything is beautiful. Bubbly is pretty sure that everyone loves her. She seems to march through the world with little fear of anything. She is sure of herself to an extreme.
These traits served her well in Ghana. They were like a defense mechanism against the constant transition that was her little life. She was sure that everyone at LH loved her. Even when she was annoying and awful and the other children just wanted her to go away, she always seemed sure they would love her anyway. She marched around the compound like she owned the place. Nothing changed when she came to America.
Bubbly is still sure that the world loves her, and in return, she loves and trusts with a totally open heart. She will hug strangers in the store and tell them “goodbye, I love you”. I recognize this as a “red flag” in her attachment to us. You can’t be fully attached to your mom or dad as your caregiver if you’re constantly looking for the next nice looking obruni (preferably one holding a block of cheese, it’s her new thing) to adopt you. But, I also recognize this trait as something that serves her well. She came into our home trusting that FPD and I would care for her and love her. There was never a twinkle of doubt in her little eyes. She asked for food and was sure she would get it. She never really seemed concerned that she was going to be lacking for any of the basics. She wanted it to be “fair”, and when it wasn’t she would let us know. But, overall, she seemed sure that she would get some of everything.
There is something that has come up as we adjust to her as a family, it just kills me. While Bubbly welcomed herself into our family and learned to love us with reckless abandon, putting all of her little heart out there, others don’t do the same. I just had a conversation with a family member yesterday, one of the few people that we let care for Bubbly besides FPD and myself, about how she just “didn’t feel the same about Bubbly” as she does about the Diva. It hurts my mom heart to hear it. I’m not a liar, I didn’t feel the “same” about them when Bubbly entered our family. Even now, I love them both differently. Not different amounts, just different ways. I love the Diva because she has always been mine. She and I have a history that stretches back to those days in Phoenix when I was the one who took her home from the hospital, alone, just her and I. She is so much like me that it scares me. I love her fiercely. I love Bubbly like she is a little wounded bird. I look in her beautiful dark eyes and I still see the dirty little girl that I first saw when I stepped out of the car at LH. The little girl who has so much love to give, who loves so fiercely that sometimes it overflows so that she physically hurts the people around her by squeezing them SO tight. I love her fiercely too. See? Not different amounts, just different ways. I love the Diva because her past is my past, and I love Bubbly because her past has nothing to do with me, but it made her who she is.
Tonight, as I put my little Bubbly to bed at an early hour because she was so tired that she started to get crazy, I sat with my first four talking about the events of the day. They spent the day at the aforementioned family member’s house while I worked, because FPD is still in Ghana. As we discussed Bubbly and her various transgressions, Middle-Middle said to me “hey mom, why does **insert family member’s name** treat Bubbly so different than the rest of us?” Middle-Middle is by far my most perceptive. Sometimes, I swear that boy can hear my thoughts. I choked back tears and asked him “what do you mean?” He thinks for a minute and says “it’s like she doesn’t love her quite as much”. And there it is. Then it happened. I started to cry. All three of the boys asked why I was crying. I told them it was because I know where Bubbly came from, and I know what it took for her to become what she is. I’ve seen the obstacles that she’s had to drag herself over. And, I’m scared. I’m scared that sometimes we’re all afraid to say that she isn’t easy to be with, that sometimes she makes our lives miserable, that sometimes we feel angry at her for being here. I’m scared because other people don’t love her like I do, and someday she’ll understand that, and that it will hurt her. I don’t want her to hurt anymore. I just want all of us to stop hurting. They all piled onto me and hugged me. I asked them if sometimes it hurt to have Bubbly here. For a few seconds, none of them spoke. GigantoBaby was the first one to speak “I love her”. I know you do, buddy, more than anyone except maybe me and FPD. He has become her protector, her best friend. Then Middle-Middle spoke up “if we say we don’t like her all the time, will you send her back to Ghana?”. I didn’t know what he was getting at, so I asked it. “Do you want me to?” His eyes widened at the horror of the thought. “No, she’s ours now” Indeed she is. It feels better to have discussed that.
But, what the heck do I do about everyone else? How do I protect her from the people who will never love her the “same”? And, what do you do when it’s not the same amount either? What happens when they don’t see the dirty little girl in Ghana who has all the love to give? What happens when they only see the demanding girl who throws fits for seemingly no reason and pees on you when she doesn’t get her way? What happens when they don’t see the hurt? How do I protect my little wounded bird? How do I keep my family together when it feels so fractured? So many questions this evening.
who wishes the only thing in the world that truly mattered is how much your mom loves you.