This morning something happened that I have been waiting to see for years. My daughter waved good-bye to me. Now I realize that to most parents this will not seem like a big deal, but for me it brought tears to my eyes.
Everyday, I drive my children to school and drop them off near the door. My son will often get to the door and then turn around and look back at me and wave good bye. When my daughter gets to the school, she silently opens the car door, shuts it (with her back turned to the door), walks up to the building, opens the door, and goes inside. SHE NEVER LOOKS BACK!
I have always believed this behavior is due to her attachment disorder issues. Because of her history of broken attachments, she tends to perceive separations as abandonment. Her primary coping mechanisms for handling this anxiety is, dissociation from all feeling states or full out rages. Usually on the way to school she will start disassociating, but I have noticed that lately she has started talking a little in the car. I have been thrilled with that because it means that she is starting to feel a bit more comfortable, and safer than she used to going to school.
I thought today seemed like every other morning... We drove to school and talked a little. We listened to the radio. She looked straight ahead. Nothing out of the ordinary. We pulled up to the side walk and I said "Have a good day. I love you." She silently got out of the car, walked to the door, opened it, and then stopped. She turned around, looked me IN THE EYES, and waved good-bye.
I know that wave was just a baby step in the right direction, but it was a step! Over the years I have come to be grateful for those moments that remind you that there is hope and that there can be healing.