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Monday, April 12, 2010

Snapshot {the bus stop}

One afternoon two weeks ago, as the other parents and I waited for the school bus to arrive, one of my neighbors whom I don't know very well said to me, "Your daughter always looks exactly the same when she climbs off the bus. She has a very anxious expression on her face until she spots you. And then, the instant she sees you, all is right with the world."

on the first day of school this past fall, when the
Tongginator still came down the steps backwards

My neighbor's words made me pause.

But I didn't discount what this momma said. And I spent all last week watching the Tongginator's face as she climbed off the bus. I also paid attention to the other five kindergartners as they searched for their mommas. And my neighbor? Was oh-so-right.

The Tongginator does sport a very anxious expression as she lugs her backpack down the almost-too-steep bus steps. She searches the crowd of parents for me in a not-quite-frantic manner. Then, when she spots me, her face breaks into a huge grin and - even more telling - her shoulders relax.

I've only been late to the bus stop once... and even then I was more than half-way to the stop and visible when she clamored off the bus. We waved to one another as I hustled to meet her. She still remembers that day, even though it happened more than two months ago. Which makes me wonder... is this a personality thing? Or is it an adoption thing?

We talked about it this weekend, the Tongginator and me. For once, she acted very reticent about the topic, especially when I asked her how she felt each day when the bus stopped near our street. I backed off, but assured her that I would always be there, waiting to hug her each and every afternoon. I don't know if this is just a Tongginator personality thing or if it is a deep-seated fear of abandonment. All I know is that I can never be late to the bus stop. I must always be on time, waiting to greet her with a smile.

Because then all will be right with her world.


Ni Hao Y'all


Cristina said...

{{{{{{{{{{hugs}}}}}}}}}} As adoptive mamas we are always going to be doing the 'is it attachment? Is it adoption? Or is it normal?' scenario. You may never know, but all you can do is be there at that bus stop with your arms open wide, ready to make everything OK again.

Annie said...

Oh TM. I have had this conversation in my mind so many times! Is this a 3 year old thing or is this an adoption thing? Lizzie and I have also had this conversation and she now knows the "mantra." Everytime I drop her at preschool, we say, "Momma always comes back!" It is her way of reaassuring herself that I WILL come back. Is this an adoption thing? I don't know, but I do know that I will continue to reassure her for as long as she needs it!! BIG HUGS to you!!!!

Joan said...

My 5 year old and I have a routine in the morning when I drop her off at daycare and I am heading to my car. I am outside, she is at the window. First we blow kisses, then we use the Love sign followed by Peace and then the power hand move. Then she smiles and can start her day. If we don't do it, she is not happy in her morning. With my older daughter we blow kisses and touch our heart with that hand after. She is almost 8. I'll keep doing it until they want me to stop.

Aus said...

Morning TM - Oh Marie and I do this all the time when we notice a 'behavior' from one of our adopted kids....but then I stop and thing about our bio kids....and I recall us asking each other - "is this OK?" about things they did too.

The truth of the matter is we will never know the why.

But the other truth is that the why doesn't matter.

And the final truth is that the feeling of joy / satisfaction / love / contentment / whatever that we as parents feel when we have made things 'right' in our childs world is one of the greatest joys of parenthood.

hugs -

aus and co.

Georgia Peach said...

Initial observation: can we find a different solution to homework and leave the big ole backpack behind? As in, remember to download today's chapter and read it when you get home.

About the topic at hand... yes, bless your heart TM, you must never be late to the bus stop. Hugs for you and Tonnginator!

bbmomof2boys said...

Ditto to what everyone has said. I'm always questioning and why I ask my husband he just shakes his head and says "stop questioning!"

Either way, we will do what we have to do because we are his or her mom. And its what moms and dads do!


Georgia Peach said...

oops..correction: Tongginator.

Sorry I accidently misspelled your name. I hate it when people misspell mine.

Goergia Peech

Colleen said...

This is Addison!!! When I pick Addison up at preschool she is sitting with her backpack in hand and looking for anxious. She always looks like she is searching for me in the crowd of parents storming through the door. Then when she sees me...instant smile and her entire face lights up. I have yet to be late picking Addison up...Livi I have been a few minutes late but nothing huge. I pick both of them up from school neither ride the bus...Addison would freak LOL she is such a nervous little thing.
Love this post...it made me think a lot.

Kris said...

how much i understand your sentiments here. i think as cautious and mindful AP's, it's hard not to question what stems from their broken past and what is just innate to their little personalities... always better to err on the side of caution, though.

Denise said...

Ah yes, the question I am always asking myself...is this because she is adopted or is it just her personality? Maggie has taken forever to stay in Sunday School and still takes forever to warm up to new situations...I am dreading the first day of Preschool and Kindergarten! Thank you for sharing this~

Michelle@BornInOurHearts said...

There are so many of these moments where the same thoughts cross my mind... is the response related to abandonment or just natural childlike behavior? For many things, I am sure I will never know. It doesn't stop the head scratching and mommy concerns, though. BTW, I think that backpack is the same size and weight as T. Just think what first grade will bring!!

Jboo said...

Oh yes, have seen that anxious look too and so true that there are any questions where we will never know the answers. Love that my sweetie (in 2nd grade) will still hold my hand when walking with me -- not sure how much longer that will last, but definitely cherishing it! Hope you all have a great week!

Kristi said...

If you knew the number of times I had wondered the same with my eldest... The other two (both of whom were in foster care) are much more relaxed about my absence, but my big girl (who spent the first eleven months of her life in a well run, but very overcrowded SWI) has anxiety like that.
I try so hard not to over analyze while always wondering.
But like you, I try to always be on time...

Andrea said...

The day(s) I have been late for carpool or Sunday school pickup have not been forgotten. They are hung over my head each and every time she is close to being the last child. I was often the last child picked up by my mom and I remember those days sticking out in my mind, but I do think it's partly related to adoption. My girls are so different, but there is a look of relief when they see me or Daddy coming to get them. I'm glad they love home so much. I've recently met a few adoptive parents that wish they could see that smile just once.

Nicole said...

I can't speak for adoptive issues, but I can tell you that BOTH of my children are like that. Especially my youngest, he relaxes when I come to get him from school. He loves school, but I can NEVER be late in picking him up. So it might be a personality thing as well, I don't know.

As an aside, the picture is adorable, I love her dress!

Aunt LoLo said...

Somehow, I can recall that each day when I got off the bus, I always wondered what would happen. Even though every day was exactly the same.

*hugs* to you and Miss T!

Rachel@just another day in paradise said...

kyler had similar issues in kindergarten (and he's not adopted) and it's also so not like my mr. independent. I don't know if it will help, but we played the what if game. What if I'm not there? What if you have to wait?, etc. It seemed to help if we went through the "worst" possible scenarios (without actually going through the really bad things). I don't know if it will help you, bc kyler was getting off the bus at my sil's house, in a very rural setting with a grandmotherly woman living next door, but you're right. I could never be late.

prechrswife said...

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who has those internal "Is this an adoption thing or is it just her personality?" conversation. All we can do is be the best parents we can to our little ones.

M3 said...

What an interesting observation by your neighbor! I'd wonder too (actually I wonder all the time if we're seeing a twin thing, an adoption thing, a four-year-old thing, or something else). Anyhow, glad she said something and glad you're the kind of parent who really considers these kinds of things and doesn't just sweep them under the rug or hand wave them away. You're awesome.

Patty O. said...

I can't really offer any insight, but that must be kind of hard. I know Charlotte has this thing where no matter where we are going, she seems afraid that I will leave her behind, even when no one else is at home, and I would obviously not leave her.

I have no idea why, but all the time she says, "Momma! Don't leave me! Don't go without me!" It bothers me, but I guess I just hope that over time it won't even occur to her that I would leave her.

She is not adopted and there have been no incidents when I have lost her or anything--in fact, I can't even remember a time when I left the house and she was really upset to be left with Bil (typically she is quite content to be left with her daddy). So, I am assuming this is a personality thing that will hopefully abate over time. And I realize it could very well be more of a fear of being left out of the fun rather than fear of abandonment.

It is so fascinating to me how each kid is so different--wouldn't it be priceless to just be able to climb in their heads once in a while to see where their anxieties come from?

Carla said...

Katie has a litany she goes through at nap time, and when we might be leaving.

"Mommy, wake me up before we go to church." "Mommy, wake me up before we go to grandma's house." "Mommy, wake me up before we go to Samuel's ballgame." "Mommy, wake me up before we go shopping." "Mommy, wake me up before you leave."

and these are ALL together, every single day. Anxiety about being left while sleeping. I have NO idea where it came from either. She also has "routines" for us leaving her at church, or with the grandparents. It's very telling, and I believe, in Katie's case, it's mostly adoption related (especially the routines for us leaving her).


I wish I had a great answer to help her though, so just in case you aren't at the bus stop on time one day...

Kristin said...

As a mama to four (two born to me, and two adopted), I have to share my insight. Two of my four would act the same way as the Tongginator. One born to me and one adopted. The other two would be peachy keen if I were late.

So, my advice would be to always be vigilant of the possible abandonment issues but also realize that this could be a typical reaction of a child with similar personality...

Hugs to you both!

Stefanie said...

I'm with Kristin. I've got one child that one time ONE TIME!! I was late to get him and he NEVER EVER forgot it. It didn't matter the 9,875 times I was on time or early, he could only remember the ONE TIME.
And he's a biological child ;)
You're a good mama, TM!!

Gwen said...

I really needed to read your post and its comments today. I am also constantly asking myself, "Is this a personality thing or an adoption thing or an attachment thing... etc. etc."
Lots of wisdom and comforting words found on your blog today.. thanks!

t~ said...

This was a read that made me realize these issues never really disappear. What a sweet post though to know your girl feels safe when she sees your face.

Mahmee said...

Wow...I'm glad I caught this post in particular. In short, I can relate.

Christie said...

That was beautiful!

discombobulated said...

Melts my heart.