I saw Pterodactyl today, for the first time since before Christmas, when she moved out.
I had some things to give her grandma, which I could have passed on through the agency, but I called her, hoping that I could just bring them by and then I could see Pterodactyl for a moment. I was initially going to go yesterday, but her grandma asked that I come today, since the caseworker was coming for a home visit anyway. I think she thought we would carpool, but I just went with it. I tend to communicate poorly on the phone and even more poorly when it's in Spanish, and agree to almost anything.
For awhile yesterday, I just felt like a mess. I was anxious, tense, jittery, building up more and more throughout the day. Then the plans were postponed until today, and I felt sudden relief. I hadn't realized it, but I have had this underlying tension of knowing that I would see Pterodactyl again sometime and not knowing how I'd feel. I miss her, more than I actively realize. Saying goodbye wasn't the heart-ripping devastation that I expected, but it affected me. Talking about this out loud with B helped me a lot, and I felt much better today, though still anxious as I drove there, and as I waited, as bad weather delayed her grandma. I feel a little guilty that I didn't cancel because it seemed like she'd had a really long day, but I really needed to do this today and move on. I only stayed 5 minutes, so hopefully I wasn't too much of a pain.
She looked the same as she did one month ago to me, just a little bigger. She is still the most serious baby I've ever seen, and stared at me, with her mouth a little open. It felt good to hold her and talk to her. She didn't smile (serious baby), but she did lift up her hand to touch my face. She did this once before, when I had her in child care during a foster care training, and she had been just miserable for them. I went to get her and brought her up to join me for the training in a baby carrier, and she just stared at my face, stared and stared, then lifted her hand to touch it. Like she was saying, "Oh yeah, you!" Maybe not an exclamation point; she's a little too serious for that.
What I hadn't considered is how my visit would affect her biological brothers, who also live with her grandma. The older asked me, "Is she your baby?" I can't quite remember the tone, if it was afraid that I'd say yes, or if it was challenging me. I reassured him that she was staying there, and I had just come to visit because she doesn't live with me anymore. Then the younger brother, who is 2 or 3, looked me in the eye and said something in toddler speak, but I believe the intended message was "Lady, she's ours. She stays here."
We talked about how she could come stay with us for an afternoon or evening sometime. I would like my boys to see her, too, but I didn't mention that. I got out of their way and gave her one more kiss, and drove home. Dinosaur and Rhinoceros were in bed but awake, and I gave them each a kiss. A kiss to the child that's not here anymore, kisses to the children that are.