There was a day when that would have stung and my defensive
self would have responded either internally or out loud, “Do
you have any idea how hard I have worked to get this child to
trust and attach to me. What is the big flipping deal about
getting that bag for her?” Thankfully on that day I said, “Is that
your perspective? I disagree, this time…” We are always
working on independence, but it is a careful dance. I was at
peace with my choice to help on that day. Interactions like
these are great reminders that most people don’t know my
family’s backstory. And I often don’t know the particular life
experiences of those I cross paths with on a daily basis.
Danielle was a beautiful 3rd grade girl. Being a reading
buddy group leader with six children in her class was a highlight
of my week. Before the experience of raising children affected
by trauma, I would have had some very strong thoughts and
opinions on the fountain of tall tales that bubbled from this
child’s mouth. But my perspective had changed. She spun out
fantasies involving her parents’ professions, income level, and
the many adventures of the family of her imagination. She
seemed to believe that if she spoke her wishes out loud, they
would come true. I had enough information to know that her
dad was not involved in her life. As I encountered her
outrageous stories, my thoughts became, “I wonder what kind
of trauma is going on in her home?” I don’t know the answer
to that question, but I do know that mid-year Danielle told me
one of the only reliable things she ever spoke to me. Her
grandmother had come down from Chicago and soon the two
of them were leaving together and heading north. Leaving her
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