It’s been a long few weeks. My mother is critically ill and my children haven’t seen much of me lately. Let’s not mention the fact that they were just adopted this year so though lately I’ve not been around much, I missed a whole lot more of the beginning of their lives.
This morning my oldest daughter went off to school early, thanks to my wonderful neighbor. I was taking my youngest to preschool. I spent a few extra minutes snuggling her. It was divine.
Finally, we got in the car to begin our day. She is going to preschool and I am headed to the hospital to be with my mother. We pull up to her preschool and I start to get her out of her car seat. She smiles at me and in the most precious voice says “will you hold me, please?” My heart swoons. Of course I will.
See, my daughter is four years old and I didn’t meet her until she was two. I didn’t become her mother until she was almost three years old. I’ve missed over 50% of her life. I’ve missed 50% of the time I could have held her. Sure, she’s four and most four year olds walk into school. Sure she’s four and it hurts my back to carry her. Sure, she can walk; but I can still carry her.
I pick her up and she wraps her arms and legs around me. She lays her head on my shoulder. I rest my cheek against her Frozen inspired french braided piggy tails. I smell her amazing scent. I’ve missed out on years of this and I’ll miss out on no more.
I carry her her into her classroom. The minute we enter the room her teacher looks up and greets us with, “When will you stop MAKING your mommy carry you into class? We need to work on that.” I stop. I freeze. I don’t know what to say. She’s not MAKING me do anything, she’s LETTING me!
My daughter presses her body in closer to mine and I hold her tighter. I dare not let go. I don’t put her down, instead I kneel down and hold her longer. I don’t let go until she lifts her head and stands down on the floor. I kiss her and tell her “I love you”. We blow kisses and I walk out into the hallway.
When I hit the hallway, the magnitude of what was said to my child hits me. I was furious. I was hurt. How dare she say that to my child.
MY child who hasn’t always had someone who would hold her.
MY child that has spent 50% of her life not having me around to hold her.
MY child that’s had to go to bed a few nights this week without a kiss from me because I’ve been away caring for her Grammy.
I started to go back into the classroom but I stopped. What good would it do to out her teacher in front of the students?
Alas, I take to the blog in hopes to raise awareness.
By no means do I write this to bash my daughters teacher. In fact, I love her teacher. She made a statement that she had no idea the actual hurt it caused. She wasn’t meaning to hurt us, but she did.
I write this to prove a point. No one can decide what’s best for your child but you. Every child is different. Every child requires different care. Children that have encountered traumatic experiences require a host of different parenting and bonding techniques. Current family stressors require a host of careful parenting interventions. Interventions that YOU as the parent are the expert on.
Before you judge someone by their parenting techniques or their children not acting the same as other peers their age, know this: you have no idea what that child and family have gone through to get where they are. Don’t you dare judge other parents. Want to do something? Celebrate them.
I will continue to carry my child into school everyday that she LETS me. I will continue to parent my children in a way that increases our bonding and relationship.
Don’t you ever, for one minute, let anyone change the way you parent your child. You know your child better than anyone else. You know what your child needs and when they need it better than anyone else. You know best.
To all the parents being judged on your parenting skills, please accept this sincere statement from me:
YOU are the best parent your child could ever have. You are doing an AMAZING job. Keep on loving your child the best way you can. Thank you.
Alisha and her husband have been therapeutic and medical foster parents since 2012. They have opened their home and hearts to many children, all ages from infancy to teens. Alisha was adopted as a child and from that amazing experience of finding her forever family, she wanted to extend the same to another child. Recently, she and her husband adopted their daughters, a sibling set from foster care. She and her husband work in the Behavioral Health field and are large supporters of Trauma Informed Care, which can be extended to many children in the foster care system. To read other posts from Alisha, she can be found blogging at www.DroppingAnchorsBlog.com