What If?

I walk into the office on a cold January morning. I am not even out of my sleeping bag of a coat. A messy tantrum is in full swing. This was not new. This was not rare. She could go from zero to sixty in 2.2 seconds, without even breaking a sweat. Her gear shifting abilities were akin to a high performance sports car. The revving of her engine was obvious and unstoppable. Her feral attributes were devastating to watch. These special "skills" were highly developed and she is not able to surrender them. She has learned that her survival is dependent on them. The anecdotal snippets that she shares about her little decade on this planet are altogether alarming. Some of her experiences seemed so sensationalized that it went beyond unnatural and ventured into the impossible. Horrifyingly, they were not only possible and true, they were her reality. 

There is something so unnatural about a mother rejecting the fruit of her own womb with such aggression, that her child is acutely aware of it. There is something so life-altering about a mother choosing an inanimate intimacy with heroin over a love that should be shared with her child.  There is something so debilitating about being denied life's necessities so that those monies can fuel the mind-numbing habits of a mother who is decaying right before you. A mother's protection should be unstoppable. When it is quite "stoppable", something irreparable is done in the heart of her child.

I can't help but wonder what these unhinged attributes could have been without the trauma, abuse and neglect. The chaos had formed her. What if love had built her? I wonder what her agility and quickness could have been. Could she be the unstoppable soccer player loved by her teammates and celebrated by her coaches? Could her acumen for manipulation, instead, have been a brilliance nurtured that allowed her to become the valedictorian. Would she have received a full-ride scholarship to the University of her dreams? Could her aggression, instead, have been a strength that propelled her into a future with confidence and boldness fearing no one? How about her amazing and complex grasp on the english language (especially the most vulgar words and assaulting phrases that she could sling together on a moments notice)? Could she have been a renowned orator with a litany of TED Talks, or an author? So many possibilities hijacked by the daily terrors of abuse and neglect. 


Hope flickers dimly in her eyes. I fear that the light may go out completely. Her fragility is obvious and needs no introduction. Her anger bullies her. We will bring felt-safety, consistency, love and boundaries to the table every day. I long for the day that she "lets go" and begins to feast.

 

Foster Care  

She is quick

She ran into my heart

I am unable to extricate her

*Pictured above: a rare glimpse of her happiness and compliance while decorating for Christmas.

*Pictured above: a rare glimpse of her happiness and compliance while decorating for Christmas.