Many, many years ago, back when I had much free time, I spend some time as a volunteer for children with autism. In my time working with these kids, I met many moms and dads and most of them would say that they felt blessed to have and hold their children but that it was a struggle to care for them and never really get any emotional response. On a much, much, much smaller scale this is how I feel with Piper most days.
I think it is a coping mechanism and I was always cautious to verbalize it but there is both serious bonding taking place between me and Piper and also a wall built up. For 14 months I have been her primary caretaker. Its been me who takes her to most appointments, gives her most meds, attempts to feed her most meals and tries to keep her contented and happy most days. You know, the normal things a mommy does. But obviously, Piper is different. She doesnt bond the way other children do. She often wants me but not to love on but to simply be held by. Her way of enteracting with other people is awkward and her relationship with Linley is sparce. I am not happy with this but have always chalked it up to being a result of undergoing so very many horrible experiances and treatments. She simply has no choice and I simply had to chose, 14 months ago, to hold myself aloof. That may sound heartless but I knew there was no way I would make it through 2+ years of treatment with her, becoming an emotional mess everytime she fell apart. My job as her mommy became clinical at times and I think that although there is obviously a deep bond between us, it has been similar to caring for children with autism. All her needs are met but there is little emotional human response to me on a commited basis. And this my friends is one of the most difficult parts.
BUT. In the last few days Piper is opening up. While always a sweet girl when feeling well, she is giggly and cheerful. She is playing alone, finding me happily, playing peek-a-boo, and responding to my little songs and games. I cannot tell you what a joy she is growing into. Tonight, as we do every Monday night, myself and Linley curl up on the couch and watch Dancing with the Stars. Lately, Piper has been joining us as I attempt to get more formula in her before she fads off into nighty-night land. But tonight, when Piper saw me coming to the couch she sat up from the corner she was sipping her sippy cup in and deliberatly curled into my side. She placed her cheek on my arm and reached over and patted me. On my other side was Linley with her feet propped up on my lap and I could not contain my heart from weeping out my eyes. I know this may be so normal for you, but for us this was the beginning of a relationship between a mommy and her 2 beautiful, semi-healthy daughters and I cried silently with joy.