From Tuesday (last) night:
I’ll journal something about our biennial family reunion soon. It was very special. Today though, Justine is the main thing on my mind.
She had a great time in Kansas, especially running around with the cousins. But after a few days, she got a little cranky with me, lashing out and throwing shade. When we cuddled it out, she started crying about missing her daddy and Maki. I imagine it was partly being away from her familiar home and then maybe seeing that all the other cousins had dads and siblings with them. It was sad, and I affirmed that. I told her I was sad about it too, but also that it was just right then that they felt so away. Then I cried with her, hoping she wouldn’t notice.
This morning, we hadn’t even been back to our house yet, I took her to her dad instead of summer-school. We both were looking forward to him, and thankfully, it didn’t take him long to open his eyes when we got there. All was going well, until she got in the way of his geri-chair as we rolled him outside. I am not sure what happened, perhaps she was touching his arm and he found it annoying. But he suddenly grabbed her head and pulled her hair. It isn’t the first time he’s lashed out at her, but I was hoping those days were over, as nothing has happened like this for awhile. This was certainly more violent and scary.
I immediately pulled her up and away from him and as she held on to me tight, whimpering, I scolded him. “You CAN NOT do that, Vernon. That is your daughter.”
“But she was hurting me!”
“I don’t care what she was doing. She didn’t deserve that.
Like a child, he repeated his case. “She was hurting me!”
“Vernon. Look at my eyes! You cannot grab Justine or I won’t be able to bring her to see you anymore, do you understand!”
Ugh. I hate this. Another complication. I know he feels terrible when he realizes what he’s done. When I said he’s lashed out at her before, I meant since the accident. He never raised a hand to her once in her life until a few months ago. Just when I think she’s doing well with the reality of her father’s situation, he frightens her. She has started bringing these things up on her own: “Did Daddy hit anyone today?”
We did make sure to have a moment where he could apologize to her. And she gave him a kiss. But sometimes I feel like I’m talking to two five year old children, my son and my daughter. Both of the them vying for my attention—competitive, sensitive, and immature.
Do you remember the movie “A Little Princess” with Shirley Temple? After years of being treated like an orphan, she finally finds her shell-shocked father who had disappeared during the war. He doesn’t recognize her at first, but her tears bring him back.
Oh, this is my dream for Justine.