Monday, October 1, 2012

Tiddles the Turtle

About 3 weeks ago, my husband found an orange box turtle in the road and decided we could foster it for the weekend and then release it in a safe location. The kids were thrilled, especially Stella who adores any and all animals. She couldn't get enough of him, and though his name changed a few times, they decided on Tiddles. That Sunday afternoon we took him to Bryant Park near the lake to find him a good home. The kids were excited, but as we were about to let him go, Stella had a meltdown. Full on sobbing, tears streaming down her face. She did NOT want to let him go. She kept saying she was so sad and that she would miss him so much. We explained to her that he would be happier in this environment, that he needed to be outside. She understood, but that did not help the heartbreak. For about 45 mins after we left, she still sobbed. It broke my heart. I couldn't stand seeing my baby girl like that, and a part of me was pissed at Russell for even bringing the turtle home in the first place. (I'm really funny about pets, and I knew the kids would have a hard time letting go) But after the tears calmed down a bit, we could really talk to her about the whole experience. She decided to draw a picture of Tiddles so she could always remember him. That girl, much like her mama, feels things so deeply that I worry for her. She is brimming over with life and emotion; has been since she was born. I get it- I see myself in her so much. I see that one of my responsibilities with my daughter is to teach her to honor those emotions, to harness them, to accept them, to never apologize for them; just as my mother did for me. While those deep emotions can leave her vulnerable, they are also a source of strength and power and loveliness.
I cannot help but wonder how she will deal with the fact that these babies are not coming home with us. She knows this, we have talked about it a lot. She and Roy each ask about the babies every day, but Stella is the one who kisses my belly twice, once for each baby. She is connecting with them. Our plan is to have her and Roy come visit at the hospital when the babies are born so that they can meet the parents and see them with the babies. I want them to have some closure and to understand that the babies are going to be with their parents. But will it be another Tiddles episode?? I don't know. What I do know is that we see this as a teachable moment for our children, a real life learning experience that they will remember forever. And if I know my baby girl, she will amaze and impress me as she always does.

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