My heart breaks tonight for a little girl that called me Momma.
Currently, I’m in the midwest, visiting my extended family with my kids. It is the annual chance for them to see, share and get to know each other. Last night, we had a sleepover at Grandma’s (my mom) house. Enjoying the fun were my two children and two smaller girl cousins. The younger of the two is Sunny.
Sunny is a sweet-natured two-year-old with a squeaky voice that repeats like a bird calling from the trees. She is a delicate looking creature, with spider web thin blonde hair and oceanic blue eyes.
Over and over, throughout the night and into today, she came to me, calling me Momma, reaching out to me with her skinny little arms for an embrace. When she first said it, I took it as she was looking or asking for her mother. But I forgot momentarily that it is not as simple as it sounds either.
You see, Sunny really doesn’t even know that i’m not her mother.
Her biological mother has been in and out of the penal system, an on-again, off-again addict of various substances, for years. Currently, she is “free”, but her connection to Sunny has been tenuous at best, filled with promises to see her that fall through without explanation or excuse.
I admit, I was flummoxed at first: I did not want Sunny to feel rejected or confused, but I wouldn’t want her to think I was her momma, especially since it will be a year before I see her again. Then again, from what I understand, that may be sooner than Sunny’s mother will see her.
So, I am doing what little I can. I will close my eyes and send as much positivity as I can gather to Sunny and the patchwork of those that are trying to give her a sense of family. I want her to know she is cherished and special, safe even in the tumult surrounding her. I want her to know enveloping and unconditional love.
And tonight, I will hold my children a wee bit tighter, and hope that they never forget who their mom is, how much she loves them, how amazing she thinks they are, that they won’t need to find love from a stranger.
name changed to protect the individuals involved