Vignette: Z

Z was laying in bed, declaring she couldn’t sleep. Her second set of brand new bed/room/people/house in three months, I understood why it would be hard to sleep. It’s an awful lot for a not-quite-seven year old to handle. Of course, since Z couldn’t sleep, neither could I. I sat in her room, answering her questions instead.
“What if a bad guy comes and breaks the window?” She asked, wide eyed.
“If a bad guy came, Mr R and I would fight him and call the police to take him to jail.”
“What if he was really big and mean?” She clarified.
“If he was really big and mean, we would fight him even harder. We will keep you safe in this house, because this is a safe place.” I was doing my best to reassure her, but little Z seemed an inexhaustible fount of morbid curiosity.
“What if…” But just then, little S, only two at the time, got out of her toddler bed and started to cry. I explained to Z that if she didn’t settle down, I would have to go and calm her for a little while. Z buried herself in her blankets until only her eyes showed, and then in a small, silly voice declared “It’s not fair”.
“What isn’t fair, kiddo?” I asked.
“It isn’t fair that you have S, and S has you for her mommy, and I don’t have my mommy.” She replied with an incongruous giggle.
What do you say to a six year old girl who already knows how harsh the world is? I just acknowledged her thought and told her that I bet that made her mad.
“How come A calls her daddy Mr R?” Z asked, ignoring my weak thought on her feelings. I explained that A used to be in foster care too, but that her parents never visited her and couldn’t keep her safe or take care of her, and so we adopted her instead.
“Ooohhhh, I know why they sent her here!” Z said fervently. “It’s because this is a safe place.”

That’s right, sweetie. I wish I knew if you are in a safe place now. I miss you, Z.

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