Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Carrying those scars inside

Those of you who've met Melkamu know that he is one of the most secure, confident little boys ever.  He and Jason drove separately from Patrick and I to the appointment with my midwife the other day and they were a few minutes later than us.  Kamu walked in like he owned the place, immediately starting to explain what he and Daddy had been doing.  His attitude was "I know I've been missed--let me tell you all about it!"  He's really a remarkable kid to have gone through so much change in his life and to have the confidence that he has today.

But sometimes, we're reminded of how badly he's been hurt in the past and right now is one of those times.  I had something to do at work that kept me there much later than I'd anticipated, so I didn't get to the daycare to pick up the kids until very shortly before it closed--normally I would have been there by 5 and didn't get there until almost 6:30.  Luckily they combine all the kids when it's that late and so Patrick was there with him.  When I walked in, Kamu had been cuddling with his teacher and he just walked over to me with the saddest pout on his face.  He was so, so sad that I was so late to get him.  He also told me that he'd been sad and Patrick had kissed him, which had helped him feel better.  Jason and I had talked while I was driving over and decided to take the kids to Chick-Fil-A for dinner, and that cheered him up for the rest of the evening. 

He fell asleep in our bed with both Jason and Patrick last night because he didn't want to be alone (even though he and Patrick share a room).  Then he had a nightmare last night, which hasn't happened in a long time, and it was about being lonely.  Then he didn't want to be dropped off this morning.  He hasn't clung so tightly in ages.  Normally when I drop him off, he'll give me as quick a hug and kiss as possible so that he can be off playing with his friends.  Today he didn't want to let go of me for even a second.  The teacher eventually had to peel him off me so I could get to work, and I can't even tell you how miserable I felt for having to leave him on the verge of tears when all he wanted was to stay with me.

When Patrick was that age, he used to get mad at me for picking him up too early because he wanted to stay and play with his friends.  Kamu loves to play with his friends but he's never once asked to stay longer.  On days when I get there later (around 4:30 on my late days this semester), he always asks "Why you wait so long to get me?"  I've always made a point of telling him around what time I'd come get him--not that he understands time on a clock, but I relate it to what they're doing and tell him it will be after naptime, after snacktime, after Patrick gets there, etc.  Then he knows when to expect me.  I'd told him yesterday that I would be a little later but not too late.  When I was really late, he recognized it...and it seems to have brought back out the worry about being left by the people he trusts.

He's so little still and has been through more trauma than any child should have to experience.  It's easy to see his sweet nature and confident attitude and forget that he holds those scars within himself, but his vulnerability shows when something like this happens.  It doesn't take much to bring it out--just a single day of getting there late to pick him up can bring it all back.  His trust that we will be there for him generally seems so strong but those scars make me really just how fragile it can be at times.


Jess said...

Aww, poor little guy. :(

Danielle said...

Oh, what a sweetheart. I'm sorry he had a rough time! I hope things go back to normal soon (both for him and for you).

You mentioned the semester, are you a student or do you teach?

mayhem said...

This sounds strangely familiar! My son was also at school for a long time yesterday, about 1.5 hours later than usual. Dad usually picks the boys up, but he was gone yesterday so they had to wait for me to get off work. Pick up was fine, but on the way home my oldest was weepy and said he was tired and had a long day (totally unusual for him). He was extra clingy and wanted to sleep in my bed last night. Then of course the youngest wanted to as well, but that was more because he didn't want to miss out! My oldest just seems more sensitive to change in the schedule or to one of us parents being gone, etc. Anyway, yeah, you're right that kiddos can really be more fragile than they seem at times, especially when it comes to being "left."

Yo-yo Mama said...

I don't know what to say. Remember, each hug you give him, he's hugging you back.