adoption, family

The Quietest Mother

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I have to approach so slowly, so cautiously. Marcus is crying. It’s rare for him to ever cry out loud. Instead he will sit with silent tears streaming, unchecked, down his face. He is a statue of sorrow.

The well of hurt and loss inside him runs so deep. He isn’t like his other siblings. He hasn’t had the benefits of good therapy. He hasn’t had the benefit of a stable family, a place to stay longer than a few months. Foster care has trained him to be an island.

He’s crying. He needs his mom. He needs me. Marcus hates needing a mom. In the past, every time we have gotten close, he’s run. He will put as much distance between us as possible. He is a young man now but we’ve done this dance for years.

Eventually, he always returns. Then we continue the dance all over again. Perhaps, this time, he won’t notice me. I will be so quiet he won’t even notice a mother has crept up on him.

I try not to say “I love you,” too much. Even after the adoption I still tread lightly. I try not to show those deep feelings that so often spook him. I hug him sparingly and only if I warn him first. Keep things light, I tell myself. Don’t scare him off. Try to keep him this time.

In this moment I am so very quiet. I say in my softest whisper, “I’m going to hug you now.” Quietly, so quietly, I place my arms around him. And then suddenly he’s crushing his face into my shoulder. His embrace is fierce and tight. My sweater soaks up all his tears.

I stay like this, completely still, while he cries it all out. Later, he may resent having exposed this much emotion to me. Still, I stay. My legs go numb and my back is on fire. He is crushing me. I say nothing. I just stay here. I am the quietest mother.

Please stay, Marcus. I want you to stay.

**Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.

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19 thoughts on “The Quietest Mother

  1. C says:

    Gotta say good job Marcus. That must have been amazingly difficult for him going by what you post about him. Good job mom also for never giving up. So many mothers say that bio and adoptive say that but it never holds up. I hope this has been a break through for Marcus and he is able to learn and grow from it. With that be able to start to heal.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. skinnyhobbit says:

    I came across a old blog post of yours while trying to dig something up for my therapist…A post where you said you’re not a hero or a saint or a superhero or the right parent for your kiddos…

    Oh, you absolutely are to me… because of that whole post, especially your last paragraph: “no, I’m not the “right” mom, but I am THEIR mom.”

    Abusive parents often use their parent status to treat their children like property. I believe even well cared for “children who are seen as property” recognise that somewhere deep down in their heart…that they parents’ acceptance and love is conditional.

    You however, precisely because you accept and love your children the way you do…as is every child’s birthright…to be loved, accepted, nurtured, empathic limits, guidance, non judgment, cherished, encouraged…that’s precisely why perhaps you’re the “right mum” for them.

    You impact not just them, but all your readers. I, for one, through your blog posts about the tough and easier times am learning how to reparent my wounded younger selves. To see myself as wounded and deserving of self compassion rather than “broken and bad”.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: The Coming Storm | Herding Chickens and Other Adventures in Foster and Adoptive Care

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