It was free comic book day this past Saturday. My son got so many awesome comics we had to constantly stop him from read-walking. My daughter got to take a picture with a guy dressed as Spiderman and won a comic book quiz. It was shaping up to be a great day.
We took the kids to see the new Spiderman movie and they really loved it. Walking out of the theater with two kids excitedly prattling on about the experience always makes me feel better about the ticket prices and time spent.
We ended the day with a nice dinner together and then sat around the living room reading comic books.
It was an awesome day, right? Pretty much a perfect one for me. My son nailed it when he described it as “nerdtastic.” But something would not leave me alone.
I kept flashing back to that scene with Aunt May.
SPOILERS!!!!! TURN BACK NOW!!!!!!
I mean it. They’re coming.
Okay, so Peter is trying to figure something out about his dead parents and Aunt May knows something she hasn’t told him. Then she outright refuses to tell him when he asks and goes off into this hissy fit.
The thing that really disturbed me was when she starts ranting about how Peter’s parents left him and she was the one who wiped his nose and raised him. She’s crying and yelling, “You’re my boy! Mine!”
I seriously want to find whoever wrote this script and give them a verbal lashing. Is this really how they see adoptive parents? Or parents in general?
First of all, he doesn’t belong to you, fictional character Aunt May. No child belongs to another person, whoever wrote this scene. Also, you suck because now I can’t help not liking this version of Aunt May. She’s ruined for the whole series. Thanks a lot!
Both of my children are their own people. They belong to themselves and no one else. My daughter has two mothers. And just because her biological mother was drug addled, irresponsible and selfish, doesn’t mean she didn’t love her daughter. It just means that she wasn’t particularly good at being a mother at the time her daughter needed her.
When my daughter is older and has all the school trips, daily dinners and good night stories part taken care of, I fully expect her to make contact with her other mother. I hope they can connect and have a good relationship. I hope that my daughter doesn’t feel bitter or angry about the things that happened in her past and can just be happy with having two maternal figures in her life and getting that special love in a double dose.
I’m not exposing her to her mother right now because she’s a kid and she gets freaked out about it. She was repeatedly abandoned and has issues related to that. She has dreams of waking up in an empty house or waiting for someone to pick her up at school but no one comes. I run upstairs and hold her as she shivers and cries then sing her back to sleep. She’s traumatized and there’s definitely a part of her that’s scared this is all some long session of being left with someone else and one day her mom will show up, take her away, spend a few months with her and then leave her with another family. That was her pattern for years and it freaks her out. Every year, every month, every day is just a little bit better. The only thing that’s going to heal this is consistency. The fact that I run up those stairs. The fact that someone always comes to get her after school. It’s been years and it will take even more but the only way to prove you’re not going anywhere is to just keep not going anywhere. It’s very passive and difficult for me because I want to DO something to reassure her. Some kind of gesture or therapy session that will instantly fix this anxiety in her and make her perfectly secure and happy. But that’s not possible. I just keep being there day after day and every time I am there for her, that fear diminishes a tiny bit more.
So, no. I’m not arranging visits or phone calls with her biological mother. I’m not reaching out to her incredibly unstable half brothers and sisters either because she’s still a kid and traumatized and needs to table all of this long enough to be a kid. She gets to focus on dance performances and spelling tests for now.
But, make no mistake, she knows these people exist. When she asks questions, I answer them as honestly as I can. I word things nicely, “You’re mom loved you but the judge decided she just couldn’t take care of you.” That kind of thing. But I tell the truth. I never hide things or lie to her because it’s her life and I don’t have the right.
One of the major red flags for me when dealing with her biological mother right now (I send her pictures and keep her informed) is the way she constantly tries to claim ownership of this little girl. Her reaction to everything related to our daughter is to try to stamp it “Mine!” Everything about her is turned around to be about her mother. In short, her mother has given me no reason to believe that she has evolved from the incredibly self-centered state of mind that allowed the neglect and abuse that led to the state intervension in the first place. She doesn’t get to claim this wonderful person and neither do I.
It’s not about her. It’s not about me.
This beautiful little girl is not a toy and this isn’t some playground.
I hashed the Spiderman scene out with my husband and he somewhat defended Aunt May. He said he thought she was hurt or threatened by Peter’s interest in his parents.
They act like his parents left him in a ditch or like they think they’re still out there yucking it up. They abandoned him? Seriously? They left him with responsible relatives while they were sorting something out and almost immediately died. They died. They didn’t escape to the Bahamas. The actual story doesn’t back up all these abandonment issues the writer forced into it.
And even if they had been horrible, monstrous people, Aunt May doesn’t get to lie and keep secrets from a grown man because she’s afraid or threatened. Well, she can but that makes her a bad guardian/parent. Sorry, but that’s my honest opinion.
It is a common adoptive parent nightmare that they will one day be rejected by their adopted children. But, one, you don’t have to be an adoptive parent for that to be a possibility. And, two, letting that dictate how you parent comes off to me like you’re only in it for yourself. I would argue that you care much more about yourself than your child if you’re choosing the path that makes a better outcome for you than for your child.
I’m not advocating full disclosure from day one, by the way. It’s sometimes necessary to hold off on the truth to allow kids to heal and be kids. But that doesn’t count when they’re to the point that they’re asking questions and it certainly doesn’t extend to the point that they’re adults.
I don’t care how many drippy noses you wipe. I don’t care if you changed dirty diapers. That person isn’t yours. You just had the privilege of getting to share their childhood. You don’t get to segregate them from their history in order to try to make them exclusively yours.
Your child is a gift, yes, but not your property.