I had a hard time in the beginning with Hannah. I thought the "feelings" of love would come immediately. I thought we would instantly feel like family. I thought she would be so excited to have a forever home. I thought wrong.
She was angry. She was mean. She was a mess.
I was angry. I was mean. I was a mess.
She didn't want anything to do with me. I didn't want anything to do with her.
At least we were both on the same page.
My unmet expectations were making me miserable. What I wanted this to be like was nothing like what I had. And there were days I just didn't care. But let me tell you about some days that I did.
One day Hannah's third grade teacher called me. The problem: Hannah wouldn't stop calling her mom. That stung. Even though I didn't really want her calling me mom, I definitely didn't want someone else to get the title.
Our first Mother's Day together her art class made Mother's Day gifts. She gave mine to the school secretary. Ouch.
Remember when I talked about the feelings not coming immediately? Well, they apparently didn't come immediately for her either.
When did I know her feelings changed? When did I become Mom? I can tell you half the story. Why half? Because I only remember half. I'm guessing the other part is blurry because the part I remember shined so bright.
It was a school day. I was teaching and she was at school. Or maybe she was at my friend Belle's house. All of that is the part I don't remember. What I do remember is she had gotten hurt. Not seriously. She had fallen off something or run into something or tripped - more parts I don't remember.
Whatever the problem was she had immediately taken the "I'm okay" route. We all know that route. It's when we slip and fall and we shoot right back up, or when we hit our head on an open cabinet door and call out, "I'm okay." It's what we do when we feel embarrassed or don't want to draw attention to ourselves. She had done that.
Until she saw me.
Up until that glorious moment she had always taken the "I'm okay" route with me too. But that day, that monumental day, she saw me, ran into my arms and started crying. They were the most beautiful tears I had ever seen. Those tears said, "I trust you." Those tears said, "You'll take care of me." Those tears said, "I love you."
I cried with her. My own tears that said, "I love you" right back to her.
There were many times as I was growing up that I would hold it all together for others but then fall apart at the first sight of my mom. Times of hurt. Times of disappointment. Times of doubt.
My mom knew the real me. Finally, I had gotten a glimpse of the real Hannah and it was beautiful. I remember standing there holding her, thinking this is what it's supposed to be like. I fell in love with it that day, this thing they call motherhood.