I woke up in the middle of the night with a deep grief in my heart. I could see the children from my former jw congregation. I could see their smiling faces. I could hear their laughter.
At every jw meeting, I would walk into the main hall and instantly two or three little ones would come running, squealing my name and wrap themselves around my legs. I'd reach down, scoop them each up in turn and give them big hugs. Many times, it was them who got me to those meetings. I longed to see their beaming faces, to let them know there was someone around that cared for them, that saw them as people.
I sat with these kids, played with them, doodled with them, babysat them, took them out for play-dates--shopping, park trips, movies. I went on their field trips, attended their school events, met their teachers. I listened to their thoughts, their dreams, their fears, their stories. We laughed. We cried. We were friends.
Growing up I didn't feel that I was allowed to be a child. I wanted so much to let these kids be kids for as long as possible. I did my best to make them feel that is was safe for them to be who they were. I wanted them to feel loved and valued.
I miss these children. It's been almost two years since I've seen them all. They are frozen in my mind at the age I last saw them. One day, I hope they will seek me out. I'll be waiting.