what does it do to a child's heart to have no mother, no father?
no matter how caring the adults in her life are, no matter how secure and well-fed she is, the one vital something for her well-being is missing. a parent's unconditional love.
i have a little girl in my home from time to time to play with emma. she is quiet, reserved, careful. her eyes are watchful. she seldom abandons herself to childlike laughter or play. she closes up like a clam at the first sign of any trouble.
i've read and researched and studied the wounds of children. but watching it in front of my eyes brings it right home, where it hurts.
when she goes to bed, there is no mommy's kiss and prayer, even tho i kiss her and pray with her. she is not mine. and she knows it. she curls up tight, holds herself distant, inwardly dealing with the issue that she is alone.
when she's hurt, there is no daddy to scoop her up and tell her it's ok. "papa" is not her daddy, and she knows it. she is tough, almost immune to pain. she watched her own father die, and she is alone.
when laughter comes, which is seldom, she laughs briefly, wildly, almost animal-like. there is no one to join her and love her little open mouth with abandon, and kiss her squinty eyes. no one to join her and moderate, lovingly and gently, the all-too-brief joy.
when she sobs, which is even more seldom, it's a horrific gasping drunken episode of complete otherness. she is not there. she is locked in her own agony. she will not stop unless brought back to reality with strong voice and strong words. she is alone. there is no mommy or daddy to hold her and ache with her and rock her so that she doesn't have to agonize alone.
she is in complete possession of everything that is "hers". little bags of stuff...her shoes...her toothbrush...she hides them away in secret places and keeps tabs on them, because she knows thats all she has. her eyes widen when my little emma shares a toy or a book with her, but she doesn't hold it tightly. she knows it will be taken away eventually. she is accustomed to losing things, and she has so little.
my heart breaks for her. what if this was my little one? alone, so brave, so strong, and so wounded. "mommy" should be the name on a child's lips every hour. she never gets to say it. when she screams and groans at night, which she does almost every night, she never calls for "daddy". he's not there.
God. how can you fix this? where is this child's family? when will they find her? send them soon. it's hard to watch her silent stoicism that belies her pain.