Yesterday something happened, that although may seem trivial, really rattled me to the core. Kerri was playing outside with all her friends (and her boyfriend). All the Moms were outside too. From time to time, Kerri would ask me to get something, like Popsicles or snacks for all the kids. I would go inside for a minute or two at the most, while the other Moms kept an eye on her. And Kerri would be just fine.
At one point, Kerri was playing with her boyfriend and a neighbor's baby, while the Mom stood over them to watch. I took advantage that Kerri was distracted to run inside to grab some juice for Kerri and a drink for myself. I was gone no more than a minute. As soon as I came out, the Mom - who was laughing about this - yelled over to me that Kerri had asked where I was and if I had "abandoned" her. She laughed again, and repeated the word "abandoned", as if it were funny. I froze on the spot.
I called Kerri over, and she was wiping tears from her eyes. I told her where I went, and why, and that I would never abandon her. And then she asked why the other Mom was laughing at her. I had to then try to answer that question without hurting Kerri's feelings. Once Kerri was reassured, hugged and happily on her way to play, I spoke to the other Mom in Spanish (so Kerri would not understand), and I explained Kerri's attachment issues and her fears of abandonment.
Later on, when we were at our front door ready to go inside, Kerri asked me: "Why did my first mother abandon me?". And my heart stopped for a second time that day. When I told her I did not know, but that we would never abandon her, Kerri said: "Maybe they did not have enough money and could not afford to keep me." I assured Kerri that no matter how rich or poor we were, we would never leave her, and would do whatever it took to keep her. She hugged me, told me she loved me (and of course I told her I loved her), and then we were back to our routines of carefree play and laughter.
I had to tell Daddy later that evening what happened. And how I had fallen into this false sense of security and comfort where Kerri's attachment is concerned. And last night, I had a dream where I was late picking her up from her after school care provider (which we do not have), whom let her walk home every day alone (something I would never even allow). I woke up with a start, feeling like I had let Kerri down. Because she still has insecurities and fears of being abandoned.
Life with Kerri reminds me how fragile she can be.