Friday, August 7, 2015

On Bonding

I have a funny story I want to tell on myself.  Maybe, one day, Mr. Smiley will appreciate it.  With me, it seems no story is simple and thinking about one thing brings a boatload of other memories to mind. So down the rabbit trail I will go.  This train does have a caboose, but it will take a minute.
I took so seriously the scripture that says, "If any man lacks wisdom, let him ask."  My form of asking was grabbing a book on the subject of interest.  Children have ever been a number one interest and I really wanted to be a, well good comes to mind, but more than good, a responsible mom.
 About the time I was starting my family, I begin to hear and read a lot about the importance of bonding.  No more whisking babies away from mama's, papas belonged in the birthing room,  and I began to hear rumbles about not letting your newborn, "cry it out."  La Leche League had taken the world by storm about the time of the Cpt.'s arrival.  Though three sisters had proceeded me in birthing babies, none had nursed.  The books said this was best for bonding, so I did it and am happy about that. I was even one of the first people to buy a beautiful white gown and my friend Baron, a wonderful photographer I worked for, took my picture nursing one twin, while the other was close by. The babies wore their great grandparents Christening gowns.  He did a wonderful job and I would show it here except I don't think the gramerlings or a random student are interested in seeing that part of my anatomy. I have to tell you though, it always rolled around in the back of head about what might happen when that bonding doesn't quite go like you plan.
I know the result of no bonding at all- Reactive Attachment Disorder and that is very scary and sad, but what about other, "this can't be helped or avoided situations?"
Well, my own experiences have answered these questions. Thank God, I had no medical emergencies with my own three, Handy Man was right there, I nursed and simply couldn't handle leaving little people to cry.
But then came my first grandchild.
Bean arrived early whilst the Cpt. was far away, just beginning his military journey in bootcamp.  He learned he was a daddy when he ripped open an envelope during mail call and pictures of an unknown, naked baby fell out- his very own baby as it turned out.  Poor Ceece and Bean barely cleared the door of the nursery, before it was discovered that he brought a horrible bacterial infection home with him from the hospital, that landed us in the NICU for several weeks. Funny I should think of this now as I believe that August 2, is the very day, eleven years ago that  I got that call from Ceece to come get them from our local hospital and take her to the Children's hospital across the river, but maybe it was longer than that.
Likely you know the drill, you go and wait and wait.  Well, I dropped her off, parked and came back to  admissions, but she wasn't there.  I finally found someone to tell me that he had been taken straight to  Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit.  Even now, a lump forms in my throat and my eyes tear.  My first  perfect grandboy. How in the world did we get here? Several times throughout his days there I wondered if the Cpt.'s first time to see his son would be at his funeral.  They would let us update the Cpt.  through Red Cross, if there was a change, but otherwise he had to wait on letters, which I sent most every day.  Let me tell you, I certainly bonded with that boy, leaning over a tiny plastic box, singing softly, praying, reading him his first books.  Between Ceece, her family and me, we never left him.  And, thank God, they figured out what was wrong and he began to recover and was able to come back home.
The Cpt. got a short leave after this and Ceece and Leesh took our boy to meet his Daddy for the first time.

So there you are.
 He didn't get to see the baby again until his return the end of October.  Well, let me tell you that practically from the day of his return, Bean attached himself to his Daddy like Velcro and has remained his biggest fan to this day.
The second grandchild go- round gave us another ticket across the river, but this time immediately after Missy Bugg was born  early.  The Cpt. was present for this experience and he was the one that wouldn't leave her side. He hardly let us near her for the first week. Though he was the one hanging over the tiny plastic box this time, I didn't have a bit of trouble bonding with this little firecracker.

Which brings us to another medical emergency, ten years after Bean- Mr. Smiley.  He aspirated meconium and was in scary shape.  It breaks my heart that all of this was unknown to us.  We didn't know about him at all.
His arrival in our lives was different than what we expected.  We were still grieving over the loss of January.  We knew about her early on and spent many months thinking about her, praying for her and the birth mom, loving her, buying her clothes, preparing for a trip to Florida, watching the Good Lord provide funds through dear friends and family and kind strangers and dreaming of who she would be, before that failed adoption in winter broke our hearts.

This time it was, "We have a boy, come and get him."  And Rae and Michael went.

This week I've been working on his First Year picture book.  I'm a little behind from my Summer of Sorting at Mom's.  This picture book allows some commentary. I mentioned about meeting him soon after we knew he was ours (he was two weeks old) and about our joy on his Adoption Day.  So, I'm getting ready to push the "Buy" button when I have a moment of panic- fast heart beat, rise in blood pressure, etc.  I don't know how your mind works, but I am always surprised how many thoughts can go through my mind in a short time.  I am thinking, "Oh no, I can't buy this yet."  " I haven't talked to Rae-Rae about this."  "What if she isn't going to tell him about his adoption, or wait till he's older, or blah, blah, blah."  Finally, my rational brain began working.  Have you seen my beautiful porcelain complexioned red head?

Have you seen her beautiful boy and his handsome Papa?
 I'm not thinking we're going to get around him knowing that he didn't come to us in the usual way.
The caboose- I guess you might say we've managed this bonding business, even without knowing of the pregnancy or the first two weeks.  I just don't even know how he could feel anymore like mine. I don't even get what loving him more would be. If Rae and Michael were any more ate up with him, we wouldn't be able to stand any of them. I always tell him he gets his appetite from the men in our family and his knotty hair from his adoring Gramerly.  All of them, so very precious, no matter how they come.
I told Rae my silly story. She laughed and replied, "Ha, it's okay."   "We've already told him."
Good to know!
I'm off early this morning to take one birthday girl some special treats Missy Bugg and I prepared.
Happy Birthday Ceece!


  1. well, you were right. tears. What a nice post. love all the gramerlings too.

  2. I love that last picture the most! How sweet and it sure has love written all over it. What a beautiful post. Thanks you for the glimpses into the little ones starts and scares!

    1. Thanks. Hope all their scary days are behind us.