The word home has so much more significance than it used to. For one of my children it is not a word that conjures up safety and warmth, happiness or calm. It is a word that seems to mean ‘where I am for just now.’

One night this week, my husband said to me, ‘This is Little’s home, you can see by the things she does, that this is her home.’

When Little needs something, she either asks for it or she goes to get it. Last night she decided she needed a plate for her bun. She danced into the kitchen, got a plate, put her bun on it and danced back. She tells me what she wants for lunch. She asks if we can go places. When she wakes up in a morning she either comes straight to us or shouts from her bed for me to come and get her. This is her home. She is safe and she is loved. And she feels this too. She knows our love is not going anywhere. She feels safe enough to talk to us, to hug us, to demand things of us.

It is such a huge contrast to Big. Who never asks for anything. Who never tells us when she is hurting. Who cannot talk or ask about what went before. Who will lie in a wet bed and wait for us to find her rather than tell us about it. This week her new boots have rubbed huge blisters on her heels. And she didn’t say anything. I noticed when I was getting her ready for bed.

The associated emotions that go with this are so vast. The guilt that she doesn’t feel able to come to us, the anger that her past trauma effects her so greatly, sadness that she has lived with us for over two years and is still waiting for her next home.

Because Big is waiting. She might not know that’s what she’s doing but she is waiting for this part of her life to come to an abrupt end and for another set of people to care for her. That is what’s happened every time before so that’s what she’s emotionally preparing for. If she looks after herself then the next move might not be so hard. If she does’t give love or accept love then she can’t miss it. There seems to be no way to change this pattern of thinking. Other than being there everyday. By putting plasters on her blisters. By hugging her through the rage and anger. By feeding her everyday. I have no idea how long Big will be with us before she feels safe and loved in her home. How many ‘everydays’ she will need to have. Everyday might never be enough.

It saddens me so much that my children feel so differently being here. That one can be so happy and one can be so sad. That one is happy to dance (wearing just her pants) into the kitchen to get what she needs and one will just sit. That one has a home and the other has a house for just now. That one of my children doesn’t feel safe. I hope that one day, the word home means feeling safe for Big, I really do.

The best bits

Last weekend we had a little Halloween party. We played eating doughnuts off a piece of string. Both the girls did really well and Big really persevered, she tried so hard not to use her hands and she had a little smile when she got a big bite.

Last night, we had a spontaneous dance in the kitchen. Little has some awesome moves. She is just learning to move her lower body at different times to her upper body. Her wee face as she tried to work it out was a picture.


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