Adding Vivienne to our family has been easy.
I mean, adopting a toddler is way different from the way a newborn enters a family… all wrinkled and clueless and malleable. At two years old, Vivi might still be tiny, but she is most definitely not clueless.
She’s experienced a lot in her two years. Too much.
That’s three more familial transitions than any child should ever have to endure. And that has, no doubt, taken a huge toll on her ability and readiness to trust her heart to another.
In the way she hesitates to come to me when she’s sad or upset.
In the way she wakes up, thoughtful and occasionally melancholy.
In the way she looks away when her feelings overwhelm her. And she wants to be alone.
And I know she is missing someone.
There is a sadness and a distance in her eyes some days. And on those days I do my best to drop the non-essentials and carry her. To put her on the counter next to me as I cook. To dance around the kitchen with her. To sing in her ear.
And I can feel her soften. And I can see joy sparkle in her eyes again.
But some days it’s just not that simple.
She doesn’t call me “mama” unless she really wants something. And she calls everyone “mama” when she really wants something. And this saddens me.
But it’s not really her job to make me happy. And occasionally I have to remind myself of that.
It’s my job to do my very best to make her happy.
And I see that in her smile as she toddles toward me with arms outstretched.
In her sigh as she nestles her head on my shoulder to fall asleep.
In her eyes when she throws her head back to laugh as I swing her around the kitchen.
And I know, little by little, she’s sharing her heart.
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