i will come back

Is it possible to have baby brain with a three year old? Since her arrival, a month ago, I’ve lost my ability to think. Even simple tasks – like cleaning the bathroom – are overwhelming, never mind launching a blog. I should do this when the kids are in bed, but knitting projects fill up that space. So I’m typing in the basement with a sick teenager upstairs, and a three year old who’s confiscated the glass of water I brought down. She’s asking if she can fall off the foot stool. It’s a perfectly reasonable question in her world. The obvious no, brought a second option of crawling off. Every time she leaves my side to get a toy, Sloane assures me, “I will be back.” Although my teen, Sabrina, has been doing this since she arrived three years ago, I’m surprised.

A kind-hearted Sunday school teacher was equally surprised when Sloane asked me, “Will you be back?” It’s not the first time I’ve left her in the cheery 2/3yr old room. I do always come back – and even manage to be one of the first parents. I don’t want her to worry when the other kids start to go.

“I’ll come back,” I say – looking into her wide eyes.

A laugh escapes from the teacher’s lips. “Of course she’ll be back.” To her it’s a ridiculous question.

For Sloane, it’s legitimate fear. In her short life she’s been back and forth across the country. There’s a dad and brothers somewhere. And grandparents with cousins somewhere else. But they’ve been gone for a while. Now her mom’s gone. After a few months in one foster home, she came to me. The reality is: I will be gone at some point as well. Hers is a temporary situation. There are issues of location making Sloane’s case particularly difficult. At this point it’s unclear how long she’ll be with me. Though I’d like to promise her forever, especially when she asks for it, I know empty promises won’t help in the grand scheme of life.

But today, I will come back. This assurance dispels the fear in Sloane’s eyes. After 10mins of vain coaxing prior to the question, she’s ready to stay in her class.

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