you know how they say "the dance of attachment" or "attachment is a process not necessarily a destination"?? After 5+ years I finally get it. Yup. I get it. It was really easy, the attachment dance (for me) at the beginning. I held her, I fed her, I changed her, I rocked her and she accepted it. She couldn't run away, say nasty things, wipe off my kisses or give me nasty looks. Ahhhh I thought, this is the life. As she grew, I had tinges of fear (almost every day) that something maybe was wrong. She never had much stranger anxiety, in fact she just LOVED strangers. Occasionally she would ease my fears by clinging to me or crying for me but for the most part I had an independent young woman on my hands. When she was three she entered the mom hating stage (she's advanced!). Lord I thought I might not make it through that year. At four I was just relieved that she wasn't three anymore.
At 5, duh, I realized that this whole time I have been looking to Lucy's behaviors as indicators of positive attachment signs. UH, like any relationship it takes two to tango and whammo I woke up. Here's the thing, parenting, especially parenting kids with histories of trauma (like being removed from birth family, culture, cared for in an orphanage) is not for the wussy. I was a wuss. I admit it. Here she was, a young child looking to her mom for some direction on how to proceed with the relationship at hand and her "leader" was all like 'hey you're 2 years old, show me how to relate'.
At least I didn't realize this when she was 15.
So here we are 5 years later and I finally feel like I have a grip. I love her the way I always should have, I love the whole her. I don't spend my time searching her eyes for attachment issues, I spend my time relating to her and showing her how to relate. I spend my time enjoying her. I ache for her so much more because instead of seeing this kid who is rejecting me, defying me and manipulating me I see this young person who is anxious, who is immature and who needs acceptance and gentle guidance in navigating the world.
A couple nights a week, we've been back in the rocking chair (her request) and she's been falling asleep in my arms. What a gift.
I am attached to my daughter!