May 14, 2012

a child needs a mother

This was Jubilee's first mother's day, even if she was completely unaware of it.  Most folks would say, "Aww, how wonderful, the sweet thing has a mama now."

Most of the time, that's not exactly what I would say.  I tend to want to amend that statement this way, "Oh, how bittersweet, the usually-sweet thing has to put up with having a mama now."

Jubilee was raised for the first two years of her life in a wonderful orphanage, where she received excellent care.  Though I am SO grateful for this fact, sometimes I am intimidated by it.  She had a whole staff of people taking care of her, not just one bedraggled woman.  The staff members were not, as I am, knee-deep in emotional gunk, wading through the attachment woes that adoptive mothers know too well.  They were unattached and just doing their jobs, and were therefore able to put on a smile and pile on the patience.  They had made no lifetime commitments, nor would they have to deal with the long-term consequences of their decisions on behalf of the children in their care.

Jubilee was spoiled there.  That much is clear.  For example, in our first few hours with her, I put her on the bed in the hotel and she walked right off, as if she had no idea that she couldn't walk on air.  She was 25 months old at the time!  Her caretakers had obviously never allowed her to come anywhere close to harms way.  When she was naughty during her first couple of weeks at home with us, she would give us this big, heart-melting smile and, I have to say, I can see how it worked for her in the past.  You want to talk about adorable.  Oh my.  The girl knew how to work it.

But now all of that has changed. She has to deal with a tired lady who makes big mistakes and raises her voice at her for peeing all over the toilet seat - again - when Jubilee can't help it that she was created with a urethra that works like the sprayer-setting on a garden hose (I do hope she outgrows that, for her sake; and I do hope she forgives me for blogging about her urethra).  She doesn't call the shots anymore and she isn't kept completely out of harms way.  She doesn't get to bring her favorite plastic toy to bed like they let her do at the orphanage, and I don't go running in there every time she whimpers in the night.  A mother is not, after all, a nursemaid, nor is a mother a personal attendant, policewoman, or doting grandmother (not that there is anything wrong with a doting grandmother, but she has two of those already and doesn't need three).

So what is a mother, and why is having one ultimately a good thing?

We watched a movie the other night in which a boy's mother had died, leaving him reeling.  In his grief he said something to the effect of, "She was how I knew that I existed."

There is a song I sing to Jubilee before she goes to bed.  The first line of the chorus is, "I will be your home, I will be your guide.  I will be your friend, always on your side."

In my own life, whenever the world has turned its back on me, my mom has been there to wrap me up and show me the way.  As a child, she was like a mirror in front of me, reflecting my life back to me.  She is still there for me, guiding me, and in a real way, she is still my home.

Children don't need a nursemaid.  They don't need to be spoiled and doted on.  They don't need to be treated with unending patience and gentleness (though to shoot for this can only be good).  They need to get their feelings hurt in a safe environment and then learn how to communicate from their hearts.  They need to see a mother, their mother, getting down on her knees to say she's sorry.  They need to see how G0D moves in a perfect way among imperfect people, and they need to know that it isn't their parents, but G0D, who will never let them down.

A child needs to know she exists.

A child needs a mother.