I'm writing this down with little editing because I don't want to forget it.
We know a teenage girl who was taken from her family at the age of four. A relative took her secretly to another relative's house in a foreign country where she lived until she was ten, after being tracked down by a private investigator hired by family who agonizingly missed her.
This is a remarkable girl. We love her. She is only here part of the year, and we all feel lucky when we get to see her. Tonight was her going-away party. She has been very interested in our daughter, and tonight she pulled me aside to talk to me.
She said a lot of things. I wish I could remember them all. She has beautiful, huge, piercing blue eyes that stare straight into you when you talk to her. She is as intense and soulful as her eyes. So with this soulfulness staring into my eyes, she told me about what it was like for her to be in a brand-new place at the age of four, where no one understood her language and everyone was a stranger.
Her eyes filled with tears. She told me, "Give Beti a lot of hugs. Make sure you always hug and kiss her. Smile at her. If you smile at her, she will want to do anything for you." She said that the new people she was with gave her
affection but "it was never enough."
She remembers one relative harshly scolding her when she disobeyed. She told me that Beti will "do weird things" but to be patient with her because she'll get it eventually.
I teared up as I listened to her talk about her experience and told her about how this morning, as I was still groggy and waking up, Beti asked me to lift her. I did, and she wrapped her long legs around my waist and held on to me so tightly, her head laying on my shoulder. She squeezed. I could have done jumping jacks, and she wouldn't have fallen off. I squeezed back.
I must remember to always squeeze back. I must remember to smile always, no matter how I feel, to pick her up, to rub her back, to remember that she is brand-new and scared and needing affection. She needs the comfort of knowing she is someone's baby.
Thank you, beautiful Miss S, for the heart-breaking and kind reminder.