Concrete Steps

The summer came to an end all too quickly after Luna arrived, and soon it was time to head back into a new school year for me. I had accumulated a large cache of sick leave over the years that allowed me to be quite creative with my schedule, and work only part time for the first semester. For the days that I was busy in the classroom, I enrolled Cam in a local preschool, and a friend offered to include Luna in her at home time with her own child.

Every day that I picked Cam up from school, he would stare in amazement me when I came through the door. And as I buckled him into his car seat, he would say “Mama, you comed back – you picked me up!” as if this was some sort of miracle. I couldn’t figure it out. Eventually, after weeks of this, I called Patty and asked if she could shed any light on this behavior. The only thing she could think of was their practice of taking the children to daycare daily, but once in a while – when they went on vacation, or wanted a break from the kids – someone else would pick the kids up from daycare. They didn’t ever tell the children, she said, because they didn’t want the children to feel abandoned by them, and if someone else – a stranger – picked them up, then the children would be more likely to blame the stranger – not Patty and Sly. This line of reasoning left me speechless. But it also explained another mystery behavior.

Every night – EVERY night – as I put the children to bed…….. read them books, sang to them, and tucked their little selves in snugly with their stuffed friends……. They would inevitably ask “Where we go tomorrow, Mama?” “Where we sleep tomorrow, Mama?” “Who be our Mama tomorrow, Mama?” I found it somewhat reasonable following a big disruption in their lives, but the question was SO persistent, and they had – random vacations and events aside – lived a somewhat seemingly predictable life with Patty and Sly….. So, after weeks and weeks of this, and with the growing insight as to how concrete their thinking was, I decided to make them a few equally concrete props.

From photos cut to the size of a credit card, I made them each a double-sided photographic necklace. On one side was a photo of them with me, and on the other, was a photo of the three of us together. I tucked these into their little shirts each day when we parted, and they were free to pull them out and look at them as needed throughout the time we were apart.

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Since Luna really liked books and Camaro really liked photos – especially ones of himself, I made them their very own book that told their very own story. It was important to me that their story be accessible to them, and that any personal feelings or opinions that I might hold be left out. While it was easy for me to have a million emotions and opinions and judgements about who had done what in such a manner to them throughout their lives, the bottom line was that all that they really needed to know was that they had been loved and cared for since birth – to whatever degree each player was able to demonstrate it to them. With those 2 guiding principles in mind, I set about this project very late one night.

When all was said and done and delivered, these 2 items were perfect for the job, and as it all sunk in, the anxious questions ceased, and a sense of stability started to build.

 

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