Today I spent the afternoon with C, C’s dad and his two other kids.

I see stuff other people don’t see, but it is real. That thought just bounced through my head. It is almost as though I have thought all my life that I lived in some kind of parallel universe where most of my experience existed only for me. Maybe that is the magic of C for me.

C’s eyes teared up throughout the afternoon. Pretty sure no one saw that. C might not even have felt that she was sad and ashamed and wanted to reach out. But I saw it. And I wasn’t making shit up. That existed.

I am a writer through and through although actually I hardly ever write anything aside from my blog, but I write in my head a lot as I go through life. There I am—living my life, and there is usually a voice in my describing my life for me.

One reason I think I do that is that it can feel that my life does not exist at all. It is really that I did not know how to find those points of connection with other people. Sometimes they are just too far apart, sometimes I don’t know how to say it, sometimes I don’t know who might be willing to stretch a bit to find that point of connection.

Person in search of an audience. Or something.

I did not share the teariness with anyone, but in the past not feeling as though anyone else saw it or had a feeling about it might have given it a surreal, dreamy quality that was more story-like than real. And yet if you have disordered attachment, you know exactly what that is, don’t you? I want to be close, and it feels like I can’t. And years and years of sadness at having that happened. I wanted to be close and I couldn’t. There was no one to be close to, or I didn’t know how, or the person I wanted to be close to wasn’t safe.

There was a moment when C kind of lightened up. It’s interesting, because I could see she wanted to be close: All of us with attachment disorders do this thing where we want to reach up. VP Ma’am sort of adjusts her sleeves. C and I fix our hair. But it is “up.” C did that, and it was a like a minute later, she worked it out, and she said something to her step sister and they ran off to look at the deer in the nature park we were walking around in.

And it was great. It was a great moment to watch: she wanted connection, and she just worked out how to get it in a socially appropriate, likely way. Because, of course, that’s the difficulty. You want connection, and it doesn’t always come out right. You reach for someone who can’t connect to you, or you do it in a way that they can’t connect to you in or that people don’t like. Actually, that’s part of growing up and part of life—working out how to get connection, where is that sweet spot where we are all happy? How can I reach out without intruding on someone else?

I think if you are afraid to connect, or you are disorganized in your attempts at connection (like VP Ma’am—can I use your laptop, and then wandering out of the room immediately after), you miss out on a lifetime of growing experience about how to work with other human beings.

That magic moment did not exist for anyone else, where I saw my daughter feeling safe and reaching for the connection she needed and wanted—and getting it.

That’s why I am her mom. Because it is magic for me.