This past Sunday, TD told me her eye was hurting. She tends to have sensitive eyes that have a reaction to makeup a few times a year. Sometimes, she will get a small bump on her eyelid that causes pain. It is not a big deal at all, but we go to the doctor to have it looked at – especially when it hurts her badly.
Every time she goes to the doctor, they weigh her, ask what her allergies are, if she has had surgery, etc…. Just like they do for any other kid. The difference with us is that we have not always been together. The nurse asks me questions, obviously assuming I gave birth to her, and TD is often helping answer the questions. I often see a glimmer of confusion on the nurse’s face – wondering why I am referring back to my daughter for information I should know as a mom. In those moments, and only in those moments, I will inform the nurse I am her foster mother. It helps make it less awkward for both TD and the nurse.
After speaking with the nurse, we were ushered to a room and waited a little bit for her doctor to arrive. Upon entering the room, he sat down across from TD and crossed his legs. He was wearing khaki pants, brown shoes – and maroon socks… I remember thinking ….hmmmmm…..what an odd choice to wear maroon socks.
He asked what brought her in to the office and upon hearing her answer – if this has happened before. She informed him that her eye reactions have been going on for about five years off and on. The doctor looked at me and said, “And she’s never seen an eye doctor for this?” Once again, I had to explain that I am her foster parent and the flare ups she used to have did not happen while in my care. At this statement, I could see understanding flood his mind and relief that I had not neglected any needs she might have.
I don’t like to call myself her “foster mom” at all and was marinating in my disdain to have to use that phrase for the third time that day as he continued to examine her eyes. I feel it puts a different light on the relationship than what we exemplify in our home. It feels formal. It lacks the sound of meaningful relationship.
The doctor asked TD to move her eyes from side to side. As he shined the light in her eyes, he then instructed her to look at “Mom”.
Then it happened.
She said very bluntly, “That is NOT my Mom.”
Now, if there is anyone who knows I should not be hurt by this statement – it is me. I understand with my brain that she will never look at me as a mom of any sort to her – other than the title of foster mom. She does not address us as Dad and Mom and it has taken several reminders to teach her that she needs to address us as Dad and Mom when directing the kids. Such as, “Go ask Mom about that.” She used to say, “Go ask Dana about that” – which is confusing for the little kids.
Anyways, back to subject matter.
I heard the words and felt the sting enter and remain. Immediately my mind rushed into thoughts, such as: “You could have at least played along” OR “You know what he MEANS, you didn’t have to say that.”
The truth is she will never know how much it hurts to love her so much and not be even given a title such as “Momma Dana” or SOMETHING (as corny as Momma Dana sounds). Or at least decline using the words, “That’s NOT my Mom.” .
I know it is crazy for me to expect more than where it is now. Her perspective is what REALLY matters at this point in her journey. She lost her birth Mom and I can totally understand that no one can come near the place of her birth Mom. I mean, I can understand that with my mind. Sometimes, my emotions play tricks on me and make me wish I could be called her Mom – because I love her that much. But, I am completely aware that she has a REAL Mom. She has someone with whom she is bonded by nature and significant relationship. She has a family line that she will be forever drawn to. AND WE DON’T WANT TO TAKE THAT AWAY. It is so precious to have family and we always want to support and honor the love she has for her birth family.
I just had to suck it up and remind myself, “Well…you are her foster mom. It is just a fact. Now, move on and cheer up.”
But, I still find myself thinking about it…