A Little Boy
I got to see J today.
I can officially say my baby isn’t a baby anymore, he’s an amazing little boy. The visit was completely chill and laid back, I just went to their house and played with J, read him books, did a puzzle, and got to see his toys. I needed that sort of low stakes and simple visit, I needed it to be just us.
It had been a long time since it was just the four of us. Back in June maybe we went to the aquarium and I think that was the last time I saw just them. Since then there have been multiple visits, but all have been events of sorts, the closest to being just us was when I delivered his Halloween costume but that time we were at his Aunt’s house and so it still felt a little like an event of sorts.
Since it had been so long since it was just us it was surprising how much had really changed. Of course he has a few more books memorized, he cruised through a floor puzzle that was probably 25 pieces like no other 2 year old I’ve ever seen, his vocabulary is immense, and he is oh so independent, so his skills and knowledge is growing but I knew it would – he’s a toddler so I would expect nothing less.
No, the part that really surprised me is how much my relationship has changed since his second birthday. At his second birthday he still hadn’t called me by name, and although he knew who I was in pictures, and he was comfortable enough to sit with me or play with me when I was around, I didn’t feel like I was much different to him than any number of other adults. But over the last 8 months or so things have significantly changed in my opinion and from my perspective. As I came to the door today J yelled my name and ran to give me a hug. He told me I had to come downstairs right away to show off his toys. He gave me a sticker, showed me his helicopter, he and I each filled a toy truck with animals. He wanted me as part of his world. It wasn’t just that I was there and was paying attention to him, it was more than that.
I spent a great deal of time in the first two years of our open adoption feeling like I didn’t matter much to J, I knew it mattered to his parents I was there, I knew that we all believed someday it would matter to J, but while he was a baby it was hard for me to ever feel that openness was important as something more than a concept, that openness made an impact on J in the present.
Now I feel like he does know me, he is piecing together who I am and does feel that I’m important to him. Unprompted he told me he would miss me when I left and I believe him. He also started talking to me about having two Daddies when most people have a Daddy and a Mommy and he asked if I had a Daddy, but it felt like the conversation that he knew I somehow fit into that world of Mommies and Daddies and he was trying to figure out how. I left during his nap, but as he was getting ready for it, he asked me to come down and read books to him beforehand. I did, then left his Dad there to lay down with him and tell him a couple stories (I have found out stories and books are two very different things) and his Dad ended up falling asleep. He texted me (Daddy M that is) later to let me know that when he woke up J requested that next time I tell him stories, put him to bed and take a nap with him.
It means a great deal with J wants me to interact with him, to be there with him. It also means a lot that M&P are secure enough to talk to me about it, to share these things with me, and to encourage J to talk about me when I’m not there. They have fostered this relationship and the fact my son is finally entering an age that he can participate in it is pretty awesome. I feel like I was holding my breath just hoping things would get better, and I feel like we are finally starting to get to a place where I can exhale a little.