She’s only three. My daughter, my in-house daughter, is only three. I thought I had at the very least another three years before I had to have this conversation.
My daughter always asks for her siblings. All of them. She asks where they are and when are they coming over. Our answer is the same. They are at they in school or they are with their mommies. We can usually tell her when our oldest son will be returning for a visit. This is not completely helpful because, well, she’s three.
She is used to seeing my oldest son, Anthony. We get him pretty regularly. She rides with my husband to go pick him up. To say she enjoys this is an understatement.
Her frequency of asking the whereabouts of her sister have not slowed but our lack of answer has not improved. We have not been able to say she is coming Friday or next week or any planned date. When she asks, our answer is, we don’t know or I’m not sure.
Yesterday, that same plain no-answer answer must have hurt her because she told her father (neither one of us can remember exactly how she put it but it was something to the effect of), “Why didn’t you go get her? I want to see her.”
My husband replied, “I receive that baby but unfortunately, there is nothing I can do about it.”
The hurt in my husband’s voice and the reflection of that hurt in his posture, the hurt in my daughter’s voice and her confused upset facial expression hurt me. It was a sad, briefly excruciating moment.
I was afraid of this moment. What was my fear? Here is a brief recap of the sate of affairs between Tanya (Scott and Bella’s mom) and my husband (and I). Not good.
The only thing consistent about their visitation is that it depends on what her schedule is and how she feels. Period. Because of this, I was very weary about my daughter developing a relationship with her sister Bella. Because all we can do is ask for my bookends (bookends: because Bella is the oldest and Scott is the youngest of my bonus children. Anthony is my middle bonus baby) with absolutely no guarantee that they will actually show up, in my opinion, their relationship was doomed from the start with Jazmine holding the short end of the stick.
I never wanted it to happen. I wanted to shield my daughter from this pain…as least until I thought she was old enough to grow through it and I could walk her through it. But now? At three years old? I was surprised that she could express herself that way. It wasn’t so much her words as it was her tone and how expressively she communicated it.
I was surprised at my husband’s honest and humble response. He gave the same truthful answer to her at three that he would have undoubtably given if she was stating this at 13 years old. I sat in that moment in shock and simultaneous acceptance that the day is now and I have to face it just like I would have if she was 13 as well.
All of this took place right before her nap time. After my husband answered her, he left the room. I laid down in my bed and pulled Jazmine down with me. We laid on the same pillow and I looked eye to eye with her. I told her that it was not Daddy or Mommy’s fault that Bella wasn’t there. I told her it was not Daddy or Mommy’s fault that we didn’t know when she would be coming. I told her I know she misses her sister but it’s not our fault that she was not there.
That was the best I could come up with. Honest. Truthful. I am sure this conversation will be revisited many times in the future and my response will always begin the same way it did yesterday.