There is something unique about the combination of early onset Bipolar Disorder and Attachment Disorder in one medium sized kid. You get your highs and you sure get your lows. You get all kinds of up and down in between. You get your throw down wango tango tantrums daily. Sometimes hourly. Sometimes one just starts and never ends but for a few opportunities to take a deep breath.
Scrunched inside of all that tangled up crazy hiding under the stealing and lying and cutting her hair, are the tiny bits of pure, happy, undiluted joy. The happy that shows itself only rarely in it's true form. Often we get fake happy. Daily we get manipulative happy. Genea used to have an 'on-demand' happy that was so void it terrified her psychiatrist. Terrified, it's the exact word he used. There is definitely over happy. Hyper happy. In your face happy.
Once in a while, just often enough to prove we really did see it the last time, Genea has moments or even minutes of pure, happy joy. It used to be that a compliment would spark that happy. Not just an ordinary compliment and I am not even sure I could pick out which compliments did it. Just here and there, if I told Genea hey Genea, great job waiting your turn, I could see you really wanted to jump in there but you held it back and waited, that was really good and will make people want to play with you more, she would float. As broad and wide as her features split when she is having a cry is as broad and wide as they split when she is truly happy. It is like opening a window that has been stuck for years. Clear, clean light that beams and takes over. It elevates her. For that minute she is happy. She levitates to me to give me a hug and smooshes her face in my clothes and I can hear her muffled little smooshed up voice saying, thank you Mama.
One thing guaranteed to bring out the true happy is to go back and get her. Whenever she stays at her grandparents for a few days with her sister and we come back for her, we see the happy. It's not manic or crazy or weird or disproportionate. We meet halfway between houses and when she gets out of my parents car, she runs around to find me as soon as she can escape the seat belt and gives me a big hug. But it's that moment when we first make eye contact as she careens around the back of the car, somehow eluding the restraining clutch of my mom, in that moment is sheer and total, pure happy.