“She was just a baby she should be…fine/happy/caught up/unaffected/past that/fill in the blank”. We hear this all the time regarding what people expect Boohoo should be doing/feeling/behaving. It’s true that she was technically a baby. She came home with us two days before her second birthday. Twenty-four months old.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m around a child younger than any of mine I feel that warm rush of mama-memories washing me back to those days. But when I see a newly minted two year old little girl…I get sad, then I get angry, then I get sorry, then I get protective.
When people say, “she was just a baby” I know they are thinking of their baby who was still a baby, still soft-eyed, fat-cheeked, and malleable the week of their second birthday. They are not thinking about my daughter who needed the fight of warrior before she finished teething. Some of her strength is genetic. I sat beside her mother and even in that short time they gave off the same aura. It was almost tangible: strength, loss, steadfastness. They were the same. The woman and her child, our child, share not just looks, but depth of soul.
My daughter was fierce before her second birthday. Boohoo didn’t get to be a baby. Her babyhood was punctured by loss again and again and again and again. Unchecked poverty, and a year in two orphanages are the death knell to a proper babyhood. I see these precious little girls who have had love poured into them ceaselessly for two years and by twenty-four months old they are bubbling with an overflow of happiness.
My daughter didn’t bubble. She erupted with the determination and demonstrated ability to rule the roost of an orphanage. She had the strength of a grown woman who knew what she needed to survive and went out and got it. She was not one of the little quiet ones withering away, at least not outwardly. It was amazing. It met her needs, but everyone deserves that unadulterated adoration of babyhood.
It makes me want to fight the world to get back my daughter’s chance to be that baby, to know so much love instead of so much loss, to feel that security instead of the suspense of wondering whose face will be there in the morning, to just be a baby. She never had enough time to be a baby and I cannot change that for her. She never got time enough to be a baby, but I know everyday we see the results of her mother’s soul, her own strength, and the love we can give her now and I know she has the ability to overcome and she is going to be one hell of a woman.