Last week during lunch, Mira began to cry. Andrew and I rushed to her side to discover her woes. All she could sob out was, “I scared… of monstuhs!”
I pulled her into my lap and laid her head on my chest. I felt immediately that she was just a bit too warm. Maybe not feverish, but definitely warmer than normal. Sure enough, the thermometer proved me right and off to bed she went with a small virus.
At some point, it occurred to me to marvel: I knew the way Mira’s skin should feel.
When newborn babies are placed into their mother’s arms, a marathon year of touching, holding, feeling, eating, snuggling, and attaching begins. I’ve learned to intuitively know my children by the way they feel in my arms. I know that Adam runs warm, Ellen runs cool, and the others fall somewhere in between.
I missed that first year with Mira. We’ve spent hours making up for it, snuggling and cuddling as long as she wanted. I’ve had to learn her skin, her smell, her moods, the way she acts when she’s sick. And it takes time. Those first twelve months of snuggling are so crucial.
So when I tell you that she crawled in my lap and I knew immediately she was sick, it was a victory. Obviously, I’m not glad she was sick. But I was glad I KNEW it. I knew it deep down in my Mommy Bone, the one that knows my children better than anyone else.
Later that night, Andrew snuck upstairs to give a restless, feverish Mira some medicine. He came back down with an awestruck look on his face. “I just gave her medicine. At night. And she didn’t fight me.”
Shortly after we came home, Mira had to have her tonsils removed. I was very, very sick and Andrew had to care for her by himself. Every night, he would creep upstairs to give her medicine and every night she would fight with all her might NOT to take her medicine. She would take it fine for me but if Andrew tried it, somehow, in her pain and sleepiness, she couldn’t make herself trust the Tall Guy with the Tylenol.
So the other night, when he snuck into her room and picked her up, she stiffened at first but then she opened her eyes, stared at him intently, and opened her mouth. She trusted him.
I think a parent’s attachment with a child, adopted or biological, is something that we’re always working on. It ebbs and flows some days. But, OH WHAT A GIFT, to have confirmed that the daughter of my heart has also become the daughter of my skin. To see her trust her daddy in the daytime, in the nighttime, in all of the times.
Mira feels better today and her smile has returned. And that smile of hers? It’ll cure what ails you…