March 4, 2010. Peter’s been dry for the last two days. If he stays dry until bedtime, he can wear his underpants tomorrow for the first time since Thanksgiving. I’m sure the school will be relieved should this happen since the issue recently has a risen to the top of their concern list. I’ll be encouraged, at least slightly, and I hope Peter feels that way too. Daytime continence is an ongoing struggle that I’m working hard to keep from morphing into a raging battle. I do admit my temper flares when Peter exclaims, “I like how it feels!” or “I didn’t want to stop drawing” in response to wetting his pants. But I’m trying. I’m trying to focus on the finish line and treat the wetting problem as merely another hazard on our bumpy course. Two events lend me perspective in this regard; one happened yesterday afternoon, the other this morning. Yesterday Peter asked me to read out loud his Bakugan book from our warm and cozy perch in the car while Sophie blissfully endured her unheated, late winter, extremely muddy horseback-riding lesson. This one-hour each week has become our special bonding time. Right now the weather is my greatest ally in my continuing effort to bond with Peter. I work fast because spring is coming and he may no longer opt to sit in the car during his sister’s lessons. He loves Bakugans, which are different-sized magnetic balls that open to reveal various monsters inside, and so yesterday it was easy to reel him in. I read the crazy descriptions (noting to myself the grammar errors in the prose, which are unforgiveable) and he told me which ones are his favorites and I confessed being partial to those with names like Juggernoid and Mantris. At one point he reached across the seat and rested his hand on my knee. Just for a second, maybe two, but it happened. Then he smiled shyly, mumbling with turned head, “I love you in my heart today, Mom.” I was so elated, and surprised, that my instinct was to reach over and pull him to me, in a smothering, celebratory hug while shouting, “I love you in my heart too, Peter! Always!” But I didn’t. I kept my cool, which is what my son needs. “Thanks Pete,” I smiled, waiting for him to turn. “I love you, too.” And that’s how the day went. A perfect Peter day. Waking this morning to gray skies and the caressing memory of yesterday’s breakthrough, I snuggle up to Sophie as she bounces into our bed, which is her custom, and worms her way between Pat and me. After Pat goes downstairs to make coffee, and before Peter wakes, she tells me she had a bad dream. She dreamed that I was her “real mother,” which made her happy, but that because she knew her “real mother” was dead, she made me die in her dream, and then she woke up crying. Several months ago Sophie asked about her birthmother and not wanting to lie, we told her the truth, which is that she died when Sophie was 10 months old. Its knowledge she can’t yet process but all the same, she knows a part of her is gone. She mourns the loss of the woman who gave birth to her but also is desperately afraid she might lose me, the only mother she’s ever known. This is a recurring fear, losing me, though she’s never before explicitly linked it to her birthmother. I hold her tight, kissing the back of her head, while I silently grieve for my two children. One who’s afraid, most days, to love me in his heart, and the other who’s afraid, every day, that the mother she knows and loves in her heart, like the one she craves but can’t remember, will one day leave her. I love them both so much. Part of what’s inside Peter and Sophie is broken, and maybe can’t be fixed, but I love that part of them too.