We had an extraordinarily beautiful thing happen the other day in the bonding process…because as most understand, bonding is not instant. And sometimes it’s extremely hard work.
As I mentioned from the beginning, I was not on Birdie’s top favorite people list. Truth be known, I was about the last person she wanted. Okay, so maybe I was the last person she wanted. And actually, as old and tough as I am, that wasn’t really a lot of fun for my soul. No one likes to not be liked. And it has taken intentional prayer and effort to dance with this broken little treasure of ours, but oh there is sweet victory coming – I can see it!!
The very best thing I did (besides pray!) was buy a sling. Don’t get me wrong, she hated being worn in the beginning. Actually “hated” is probably too gentle of a word. Arched back, screaming at the top of her lungs while flailing about more accurately depicts the scenes.
I suspect she finally realized that she was truly stuck with me in the sling to begin to relax and enjoy it, but she has settled in it.
And the other day a precious event happened…
Birdie had been playing in the kitchen and was over at her high chair. The tray had been washed after breakfast but somehow had not been latched back on. She apparently reached up and touched it and it came off and bumped her head. She ran toward our family room crying with an “I’m so offended that someone didn’t latch that stupid tray on and look what happened to me!!”
In order to bond well, Birdie must know in every fiber of her being we are here to comfort, soothe and love her. She must fully comprehend bonding in the not-so-fun-moments of her little life, like getting bonked by a dumb old tray.
So I ran after her and scooped her up and she flailed about even more! We plopped on the couch as I firmly held her and whispered that I loved her oh-so-much. She continued flailing and wailing and even tried to push me away.
I’ve mentioned before my own childhood trauma and Birdie pushing me away reminded me of some times in my life, back in the mid-1980s, when I was dealing with the scars of my childhood. Deep emotional pain would begin to surface with old memories and although it appeared I was “pushing away”, down inside all I desperately wanted was for my hubby to take me in his strong, safe arms and assure me that I was loved.
Remembering those feelings, I asked Elizabeth to grab my sling as Birdie continued to push me away and flail. I quickly threw the sling over us both and tightened it around us, all the while telling her I was her mommy forever and she was safe and loved.
Once in the sling, she immediately settled.
No more pushing me away. No more flailing. No more wailing. We stayed together on the couch in the sling for quite awhile. I continued to whisper how much I adore her.
Eventually she ran off, happy-as-a-clam to play and the day continued.
That evening as we sat for dinner, suddenly I realized that my precious, broken little Birdie had slid her foot over onto my leg. I motioned silently to everyone that a beautiful event was occurring below the table…and unbeknownst to me, Elizabeth had grabbed my cell (without me even asking) and taken a couple of pictures…
My eyes well with tears as I type…such a monumental moment in our history as a family…she’s initiating love toward me and I cannot thank the Lord enough for such a gracious gift.