We have had two wonderful and entertaining evenings with Noah. Well, Rich did tonight and we both did last night. The difference in Noah when he feels he is in a safe environment, and I think being with one or both of us helps make unfamiliar environments safer (which is a huge step forward for him), is akin to the difference between night and day.
The more I understand about attachment the more I understand Noah. Even when his behavior doesn't quite make sense, I'm becoming OK with the confusing pieces. Even if I can't quite figure out how to express it here.
Today Rich and Noah went to see the Union play soccer. I bought Rich the tickets for Father's Day. Rich said Noah was awesome (and yes, we are learning how to redefine awesome!). They went out to dinner after and Noah asked a lot of great questions about our family history and family tree. It's very cool to see him process that Rich and I have parents and grandparents and they had parents, etc. etc. And want to know about them.
That was the awesome!
And then Noah said this tonight after they got home and I was answering some of those family tree questions.
"Why did Papa make us leave?"
And all I could think was "fuck" and I hedged a bit and said "honey, they didn't make us leave" and Rich said "it was just the right time for us to go."
And Noah said "No, he made us leave, because Derfy scratched me with his claws and I cried."
And again, I'm thinking "fuck" This boy can't remember what we sent him to the next room to get, but he remembers something that happened over 18 months ago and in vivid detail.
So I told him a shallow layer of the truth. That Mommy and Mama and Papa argued and that because we didn't think we could all be nice to each other right then that Mommy and Daddy thought it was better if we came home.
And Noah said "no, Papa made us leave."
I tried to explain that no one made us leave, and that I'm so sorry he remembers it like that, and that he saw everyone be mad at each other. But that no one was mad at him, and that Papa did not make us leave.
This poor boy thinks it was his fault. And has had that inside him since it happened.
Rich and I are so very careful not to talk about any of this in front of Noah, even when it was at its worst and most emotional time for me. We only speak positively about my family to him!
Some day Noah is going to want to talk about why my side of the family has nothing but a shadow of a presence in his life. Right now it's easy to explain that they live far away and it isn't easy to see them. That isn't going to work with him forever. Someday he is going to understand that my family chose to not try and understand him.
I totally get that Noah's issues are very difficult to understand. Hell, I'm just starting to understand them myself. What I can't understand though is my families near abandonment of Noah and lack of support for me and Rich as we try and figure out how to help Noah. Even after reading this blog! Knowing they read this blog and continue to keep their distance makes it even more hurtful and confusing to me.
Now I need to figure out how to do some damage control to fix 19 months of a little boy thinking he is the reason "we had to leave."