Friday, 10 August 2012

Forming Attachments

Roman with Granny Kirk this afternoon.

My mum had been with us for over a week and today she left to go to my grans (Roman's great gran) to go on holiday tomorrow with my two aunts. My heart felt torn because I know that tomorrow Roman will be asking for my mum, his granny, and I'll have to tell him (for the 50th time) that she's not here. And he'll still keep on asking for her, even though I've told him she's gone on holiday.

They've really formed an attachment to one another over these past few weeks we've been together. More often than not my mum would get up with Roman in the morning, feed him breakfast and keep him entertained until either Bryan or I woke up - yes, she's great. I have a fantastic family who do so much for me and it's always been this way, my mum especially who gave over her 20's, 30's, 40's to parent me and now she's newly into her 50's she still parents me, looks after me and best of all she is a fantastic grandparent to Roman. 

So today we walked to the station and as we drew nearer Roman begged to go on the train, very excited at the prospect. We all took it in turns to explain to him what was happening, but he is 2.5 years old and explanations aren't heeded. As soon as my mum boarded the train Roman wanted to be with her. "WANT TRAIN! WANT GRANNY!" he screamed, wailed and the tears (heartbreaking, streaming) appeared. "He's upset because he isn't going on the train," Bryan told me, but my heart and head knew differently. Yes he was upset about not going on the train but his little heart was hurting from being parted from his granny, too. 

Not one to ignore or try to distract these upsets but rather face them and comfort them I decided we should stop and comfort Roman. I took him out the buggy, sat him on my knee and as best as I could I tried to explain the weight of the situation to him. "It's okay to be upset," I said, very sure of my words and in that moment I felt so secure in what I was saying. I've never been sure of public crying, it's not something I practice myself and I find it so very hard to cry around people yet I'm becoming more and more okay with Roman expressing his happiness, sadness and all other host of emotions both privately and publicly in a way that is very healthy indeed. I will never tell my child to stop crying, I will never tell my child that he is embarrassing himself if he's upset, I will never tell my child that public displays of upset are 'wrong.' I've always found it strange that we can laugh, cheer and celebrate very publicly yet it is apparently wrong to cry in public, or show any signs of cracking or upset. Nonsense.

This chapter of 'allowing' emotions - rather than suppressing my child's emotions - is opening me up in ways I never imagined it would, after all my attitude change is for Roman, right? Well not really. I find myself not making any apologies I don't mean, I'm working on asking for and accepting help from others and not taking on too much at once, which is my life story. This acceptance of Roman's changing emotions is making changes in me - and I hope in Bryan, too, as he learns how to be even more gentle with our son's developing self esteem. 

The result of all this was a short lived outburst of tears, wailing and pleading followed by a quick acceptance of what was to come; our family going back down to three, with no granny peeking through his bedroom door in the morning. "We're going to say bye to the train and bye to granny," I explained, not entirely convinced Roman would understand but trying so hard to be delicate with his feelings. He surprised me when he replied with, "bye train, bye granny, want buggy, want ASDA (the shops)." As the train, with my mum in it, rolled out of the station we waved it off and after that Roman would ask a little for his granny. When we got home it was bedtime and as I put him down to sleep he shouted out, "night night granny!" and my heart? Oh it shattered, but it also burst with love. Love of the family ties, of the attachment that is fully formed between granny and grandchild and the love Roman displays for his family, to know he's secure, loved, cherished and cared for.