He sits in my lap, eyes sad, holding tightly to my finger and asks to see it again. A moment of hesitation, I momentarily question myself and then tell him of course. I hit play again, he has seen the video a number of times, he has danced to the music, commented at the pictures but today it seems to evoke a different emotion. Part way through the video he shifts to my other leg, wraps his arms around my arm, his eyes are watery he is quiet, head resting on my chest. I start to talk to him, talk him through the events. He asks to see other videos, starts to flip through my computer, so I play the one year home video. We make it through the video, he is crying, silent tears running down his face and then he looks at me and starts to seek reassurance.
Grief strikes in a new way this time. He is growing, learning, developing. He is processing on a different level than before and this time he feels sadness, loss and fear that the pattern will repeat. He cries for ten minutes or so, seeking arms of comfort and verbal reassurance that I am here, for always, he seeks hugs and words of reassurance from the friends in the room that they are here for him.
For the first time I think he understands the feelings of loss. For the first time he questions where people are, if he will see them again. He wakes then next morning and says he missed someone when they were gone....and asks will they go away again. My heart breaks a little. It is so easy as an adult to understand that physical distance between people means time between visits can be long (i.e. my friends in CA, my parents and various friends scattered around the US), but time and distance are abstract concepts to little minds. It is also a fact of life that people come and go from our lives...easy (or at least easier) as an adult to see that, but how do you explain that to a child.
I sit tonight four nights later still processing what happened that night. Still processing how to help him understand the loss he has experienced. That I can not protect him from the pains of people leaving our lives in future, but that I will always be here for him as he grieves those losses. And most importantly I am very aware of the loss he has already experienced and that I honor and respect whatever feelings that brings. That I know our family, the us, comes only because he, as a tiny baby had to experience the greatest loss.
I will hold him. love him, reassure him as he continues to grow and develop. I will take the anger and the sad of grief. I will hold my child as he walks through all of that, and I will hold the hand of the young man as he walks through it again later. When my adoption was approved the text/email I sent out was "he is mine and I am his and we are a family" Today that rings more true than it did almost 3 years ago. We are a family and we will work through all that comes and has already come our way.
Growth it is beautiful....painful.....amazing to watch and experience.