Friday, February 14, 2014

The Best Valentine's Gift

It's been a wonderful Valentine's Day.  Hubby gave me some beautiful flowers and chocolates.  I used to tell him not to buy me flowers because I thought they were a waste of money.  But I've learned to appreciate his love language--which includes purchasing beautiful bouquets on special occasions.

I am reminded of my dad last year.  He was just out of neurosurgery and had been diagnosed with terminal cancer that very day.  But his biggest concern was that he couldn't get to the store to buy a Valentine's gift for my mom.  He wanted flowers--roses--that were pink and red and beautiful.  And a big box of chocolates.  The clerk was probably wondering why I was crying in the check-out line. 

It gives me a new appreciation for true love.

This year several of the kids had set candies out on the counter with little post-it notes.  So sweet.

But wanna know the best, most precious Valentine's gift?  A sweet card from Mei Mei. 

Remember my little girl who was so terrified of me that first year home?  She wouldn't come near me and wouldn't even let me sit by her.  She hid from me and cried when she was alone with me.

One year ago she finally reached the point where she wouldn't move away if I sat down next to her.  She was making progress and finally got to the point that she would touch me--as long as I didn't initiate the contact.  She liked being near me and talked to me non-stop.  Baby steps.

About six months ago I thought she really wanted to be able to reply to my "I love you!" at bedtime.  But she didn't seem to be able to make the jump.  I actually made her say it the first time because I really felt she wanted to, but couldn't.  And now I hear her sweet response unsolicited.

And now?  She likes to cuddle--sometimes.  She's still a bit stiff.  She's doesn't quite believe that she can really trust me.  But through a lot of patience and love, she's learning. 

It's been a long road.  It's not easy to attach to a child who does not like you.  In the beginning there was a lot of "fake-it-until-you-make it."  I knew (and learned to accept) she might never learn to trust me.  That was a hard realization, especially since there were other women she openly loved, like her grandma, aunties and teacher.  But I continued to be patient. 

It's been two years of taking extra time to reassure her while allowing her to move at her own pace.  Two years of finding ways to encourage attachment.  And finally, finally, I've been seeing some big gains. 

And today was a incredible pay-off.  This card, given with a shy grin and a big hug!

It says:  Happy Valentines you are wonderful mommy and you help me a lots and you so sweet and pretty mommy.  Love you from Mei Mei. 

Love is a lovely part of life.

Wishing you and yours a happy Valentine's Day! 


Anonymous said...

This is incredibly sweet and touching made even more so by the long road to get here. Love your family. Coll

Amber Schmitt said...

Valentines Day 2013 was one of the saddest days of my life... selecting a card, the dark drive back to the hospital at night with the flowers, and watching Dad sign the last Valentine card he would ever give Mom makes me cry everytime I think about it. Yuck Yuck. Still traumatized by it all... but the fact that he was so adamant and could think through it all even in his health condition speaks to the love and devotion he had for Mom.

Ann said...

Amber you say it so well--the fact that dad could only think of mom--they had a true love. Like you, Valentine's Day will forever be marked with such great sadness--but also memories of such amazing love.