Peyton makes this statement quite often. It’s interesting to me that he views his life almost as if he has lived two different lives.
I was a foster parent for about six years. In fact, that is how Peyton came into my life. Kids in foster care often separate the lives they lead with biological parents/family and the lives they lead with the foster/adoptive parents/family. I don’t know if this is the case with all foster kids, but it is for sure what my kids have experienced.
Peyton came into my life when he was a mere seventeen days old. I picked him up directly from the hospital and brought him home. Unlike other kids he didn’t see life as a before he was with me and an after. It is interesting to see that we still experience a before and an after because he sees things as “when I was a girl,” and the now that he is a boy.
Many families have pictures of their kids and family members on their walls or in photo albums (do those even still exist?!). We have school pictures and other pictures on the walls and Peyton looks at these pictures and says, “When I was a girl I was feeding Maggie (younger sister), ice cream. He doesn’t just say “I was feeding Maggie ice cream there.” This fascinates me because to him it is like he had a different life as a girl. Almost like he was a different person and not who he is today. He completely dissociates from that little girl that he once was. I’m not sure if he does this to assert his masculinity, verbally stating that he in fact is a boy, or what the deal is. But I do know that to some extent he wants everyone to know that he is not the little girl in the picture anymore.
I could potentially fix this by changing the photos on the wall to current photos of Peyton looking more as a boy. This might provide him with the more of himself that he wants to see but, as a parent this is a difficult task. For one thing I like the events that we attended or the looks on my kids faces during the events when I took the pictures. Each picture has a meaning or sentiment to me just like it does for all those in the pictures. There’s also the fact that I don’t have that many pictures of Peyton as a boy because we haven’t been here at the full boy stage for that long. And then there’s the time factor, and the sense of loss. It took me a long time to change all of Peyton’s clothing from his girl clothes to his boy clothes. Life has a way of getting in the way sometimes and there’s only so much you can do in a day. Then there is the emotion that comes into play. No matter how much you accept your child and the changes they are going through, there is a certain amount of pain that you feel because you have lost part of that child. Now don’t get me wrong, there are wonderful and amazing things that your child brings to the table no matter what, no matter who he or she is. But there was once that little girl that you will sometimes miss a little bit. I’m sure that time will change my feelings on this the more time I spend with Peyton. And I know that things will get easier with time, they already do with each day that passes. But the same way that Peyton yearns to be just Peyton, I sometimes yearn to see that little girl.