05 February 2007


When Big A was between the ages of about a year and a half and four years old, each day I would think to myself, "It will never be better than this". Each day brought new words, endless curiosity and love in the purest form. When they laid her upon my chest, I remember being blinded with light; I was that overpowered by the emotion. I hadn't known the depths of love until I knew her.

Lately I've been struggling with what I feel for her now. She's been going through something that I don't understand because we simply aren't built the same; I feel like I don't know how to relate to her anymore, and she's only eight. She isn't goofy or silly, my laughter isn't endearing to her. I feel like I'm tiptoeing on the tail end of a relationship when we spend time together now, when it's stiff and awkward and you're constantly checking yourself to make sure you're not offending the other party. My laughter isn't funny to her, she's genuinely appalled when I crack up at something that I do that can only be classified as stupid, and I know better than to laugh at anything she does. When I want to reach out and hug her, she draws away and pretends to be doing something else that requires her physical attention. What started as little trickles of difference has now ebbed into an ocean of distance and I feel like no matter what vessel I board to cross the barrier, I never get far from my shore.

Big A never was made of laughter and giggles. Even as an infant, she was solemn and observant, but now she's something more than that. She's coming into her own definite personality, and she genuinely doesn't like me as a person. She loves me because I'm her mother and she wouldn't dream of not feeling the appropriate things for that person in her life, but that's as far as her devotion runs any longer, and it breaks my heart each day. When I was talking to her dad the other day about our latest run in, he said, "She's like me, Jenn, and there's a reason that you and I didn't get along". Internalizers, the two of them are, and when they finally do speak, the words are hard and cold and meant to inflict instant and lasting pain. They both like watching the delivery of the unexpected punch, the crumbling of the opponent, and afterwards, they both feel terrible but cannot recall those emotions when the next argument comes around.

How can I have carried her within me, love her with all of my being, and yet be losing her day by day to who and what I am? Each day I begin thinking, "It looks so peaceful" and nearly each night ends with waves crashing hard on the shore, clouds thundering above. Please come back to me, Big A, seal yourself within a bottle and toss yourself into the waves. I swear that I'll be here, searching the shores until I can read with my eyes the words that I already know are written.


mamalang said...

It's so hard. I try to remind myslef that some day, they will (hopefully) be a parent, and they will begin to understand. Until then, it's very hard. Good luck finding a way to bridge the difference in personalities.

bethany said...

I think they call that puberty, though she's hitting it about 4 years early. I dread that time.

You did it to your own mom (and came back to her), just like moms and daughters have been doing it for eons.

It's normal for her to pull away from you, it's part of creating her own identity, of becoming her own person. But that doesn't make it any easier, does it?

Hang in there.

Lauren said...

I dread that time in my future. It will totally break my heart. Belle swears her undying love to me will be a constant and forever thing. She says that now...

I feel your pain. I hope she finds a way to realize you are her biggest fan and will always be there for her.

Anonymous said...

maybe send her to dad's and let it ride. It sounds hard, but sometimes you need to be forced to look at your situation and see who really takes the time and cares for you, and who is just filling in at his convenience.

Emptyman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Emptyman said...

Sorry, had to fix a typo.

She is not old enough to see that you provide a part of her that's missing. It may take years before she comes to understand and cherish what you give her. Which doesn't make things any easier right now... but she will eventually come to appreciate that she got her ability to laugh from you.