Friday, October 16, 2009

What makes her tick??

This AM we had one of those dramafests that mothers and their daughters seem to get drawn into. The climax came when Colleen was buckling Marins' seatbelt. Somehow Colleen's thumb became entangled in the belt. At that instant, Marin decided to become resistant and tugged powerfully on the belt, spraining Colleen's thumb. Colleen, naturally, screamed out in pain. The interesting part is what happened next.

Colleen abruptly returned to the house to get an ice pack and an ace bandage. I put Marin in teh car and drove her to school. Marin was overcome with panic.

First, Marin thought she had killed Colleen. She made me promise her that Colleen was not going to die and asked me over and over "How do you know, Daddy?" "How do you know?"

Once, I got her off that, Marin continued her panic session expressing fear that Colleen would not want to be her Mother anymore. Again "How do you know, Daddy?" "How do you know?" The poor kid was like nearly suicidal until I finally dialed Colleen up on the cell, explained the situation, and Colleen got Marin calmed down.

Some thoughts....................

1. Even after three years in America, Marin's first reaction to even the most routine illness and injury is that the person is going to die. It's just unbelievable to think about how many people she saw die in her young life in Ethiopia. And its' equally unbelievable to think about how totally preventable those deaths were if the country had any kind of living standards.

2. Even after three years in our care, Marin fears abandonment. This really caught me by surprise. We have been totally diligent about hugging the girls every day, several times, telling them we love them forever and we will always take care of them. Never once using corporal punishment. And when we have ourselves convinced that the kids are totally secure with our love and commitment, something like this happens to make us realize they still live in fear of our abandoning them. Bummer.


Anonymous said...

Hi. Actually, I was thinking like you, that repetition would do the trick. By making the children repeat it to us in their own words every night before going to sleep, rather than just hearing it from us, it might "stick". Carolina (once again) has a good point. As soon as it becomes "routine" the message becomes mechanical, begins to wear, and loses its power. I guess the children need to see their dad jump into the cold, raging river to save them on Monday, deliver them from the claws of a lion on Tuesday, scale a precipice to ensure some other essential aspect of their well-being on Wednesday...

kristine said...

I am sorry about this - their feeling of insecurity. I am happy that you had the experience so that you could be reminded of it and i am so deeply grateful that you write about these issues. It is a deep help to Yancey and I as we try to learn as much as we can, knowing that it will still only be a drop in the bucket.