Are you sure?

25 Apr

All week, the child has one thing on her mind: “When can we go to the library?”

On Tuesday, I tell her: “Saturday.”

This feels too far away, but it’s the best I can do.

So every day after that, she checks. “I can’t wait ‘til Saturday,” she says, or, “The library!” she says – quickly – as if full sentences would leave her open too long to the possibility that I might disagree, change my mind, steal the balloon right out of her hands and send it soaring up through the clouds. It isn’t in my nature to steal a child’s balloon, but still, she worries. Every time.

Before she was a year old, she did have a helium balloon (mylar) and all day long, she held the balloon ribbon in her hand. She pulled it near. She let it stretch. She pulled it near. She let it stretch, hand over hand, all day long, even during lunch. She traded hands, too, holding it always in the hand she didn’t need to reach the food she wanted on her high chair tray.

Nap was hard that day. She didn’t want to accept that resting her balloon against a corner of the ceiling while she slept would really, truly be okay. She couldn’t believe it would still be there once nap was done.

She was testing for object permanence, I imagine. But do these tests ever go away?

Me? I check on notes. Still. And the more anxious I get, the more often I check. I check meeting notes. Notes I write to the people in my life. Notes written to me. Love notes. Story notes. Work notes. I check them all – to edit, to remember, to discover something new. But more than anything, to confirm that I am here, I was there, and this happened, and that was/is just as I recall. Simply: To. Be. Sure.

Which got me thinking: Maybe we all have something we check on, something precious, something or someone we can’t do without. Something to be sure of.

And maybe part of getting to know someone – getting to really know someone – is understanding what that something is.

Pooh and Piglet sure of you


Artwork from “Carrying Bags”


6 Responses to “Are you sure?”

  1. Shannon April 25, 2014 at 7:35 am #

    I know this wasn’t the point of this whole post, but can I just give you a high five over how much she loves the library?

    • RoiAnn April 25, 2014 at 7:50 am #

      Yes! Proud mom 🙂 Thank you.

  2. debweeks April 25, 2014 at 8:34 am #

    Beautifully written!

    My little Ms. L’s foster mom told me how good of a sleeper she was, but that wasn’t the case when we brought her home. For the first few weeks I could only get her to nap if I was holding her. At night I would rock her to sleep, but the minute I let go, she was awake. She would scramble to get back to me. Eventually, I brought her to bed with me and there she would cuddle up and sleep. In the night she would wake, reaching out to feel my face and make sure that in the dark of the night, I was still there. She wanted to be sure of me.

    Although she is growing and changing everyday, I don’t know when or if she will ever come to that place where she feels sure. Our girls began their lives with loss and those feelings of loss will likely never go away. It’s the little things of following thru with trips to the library, the balloon still being there, or laying next to mommy in the night that help them heal, grow and trust that they can be sure of us.

    • RoiAnn April 25, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

      I don’t even know what to say, Deb – yes. Imagining your Ms. L when she first came home – and the other young ones I know whose early lives were full of loss – makes me teary. You describe your experience so clearly, and I can relate. I’m with you – following through on the little things is how we build trust, and yes, there is no way of knowing how secure our young ones will be as they grow – but we do what we can, and always with love. Thank you for reading, and for sharing your experience, too. Someday, we will meet in person!

  3. pepibebe April 27, 2014 at 3:27 am #

    It’s interesting what this triggered for me…my ‘something’ is something that I don’t have. I mentioned to my wife on the weekend mid discussions with our new potential donor, (at a point where he’d left the room), that I wished we could get him to put his intentions in writing. Just so I would have something. Something tangible. Something to settle my nerves if he didn’t answer a call or a txt one day and I was worried. Something to refer back to if he changed his mind – and I’d be able to say ‘well he truly did lead us to believe it was going to happen this time’… All of this time of miscarriages, then being unable to conceive then unable to move ahead with TTC, I wish I’d had an actual ‘something’ to hold on to.

    • RoiAnn April 27, 2014 at 8:40 am #

      Thank you for sharing so openly. Such a rough road. I have a few friends who went this route, some more formally than others, and the uncertainty was truly painful. Sending you and your wife light and love.

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