My Lightbulb Moment on Attachment

Split Pea had a spectacular crash on her scooter earlier in the year. As she disappeared down the other side of what I suddenly realised was a steep hill, I started to run after her. I knew there was little I could do to stop her as I watched her pick up speed, wobble slightly then cry out as she lost control and let go of the handles. The scooter sped off and she was not far behind it tumbling a couple of times before she was laid still, flat on her stomach. I reached her expecting to see half her face scrapped off on the tarmac or a broken bone, while trying to figure out where the nearest A&E was, so I was relieved and grateful to see that aside from a small gash on the side of her head she was physically fine! She was also bruised, frightened and confused and immediately I wanted to cuddle her better and make her feel safe again, that’s what children want their mums to do…right? But as she howled in my arms she didn’t turn to me,  she turned and reached out to a stranger. A passing man had kindly stopped after witnessing her fall to see if she was ok and Split Pea held out her arms to him for comfort. Crying uncontrollably she wanted this man to cuddle her and make her feel safe again because for her that’s what grown ups do right? Not just your mum, anyone with a kind face will do. I was shocked at the time as I thought we’d crossed that bridge of the indiscriminating hugging and kissing she did when first placed over a year before but here was a reminder that my child was different. I still recall how I held tightly onto her as she leaned towards him and he almost reciprocated her pleas for him to cuddle her, what must he of thought?  Eight months later, her head on the outside has healed but I accept that what goes on inside her head will take longer. We now have a couple of official names for her behaviour including an attachment disorder which I’m still trying to understand in terms seeking help and support for us both. Attachment is rightly a big issue within adoption, as a parent it brings fears of a future of rejection and never achieving that much talked about parent/child bond. I admit I have spent time thinking about worst scenarios, wondering what would become of us if we don’t have this all important attachment?  However a few weeks ago I came to a sudden realisation while watching her playing with a family friend and seemingly ignoring me, that having an attachment issue does not mean Split Pea does not love me. In fact I realised that she does actually love me in her own muddled way; that she wants, not just needs, me to be her mummy and that she wants to be loved by me and give love to me, attachment disorder or not. I knew I loved my little girl from our first day of intros, maybe at first like an aunty and a favorutie niece but it was a love. Today I love her unconditionally as my pride and joy, although I have never given birth no one can tell me different. It’s not like the Gilmore Girls in our home but we share daily hugs and kisses, I now make a point of telling Split Pea I love her or love something about her everyday,  sometimes she tells me she loves or likes me but frequently responses with a comfortable indifference.  I imagine I would still love and hopefully still like her if she told me the opposite.  I, at least, am attached for the long haul, maybe that’s enough for now.

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