Ugh. What a day. I had no intention of actually writing tonight. With the hubby out I had planned to “woop it up” and have a beer while I did some crafting, but then I tucked my daughters in and my whole world changed.
Tonight we got home late so reading was forgone and we went straight to bedtime songs. Crawling in their beds with them tonight was to be a treat (I’m getting too old to scale bunk beds) as they each have their own special song, but we have taken to singing them snuggled on the couch the last couple months.
I snuggled with my Baggins first and just as I finished singing her “Your My Sunshine” she says to me, “Mama, I wanted to tell you that I love papa more. When I was littler I used to love you more, but now I think I love papa more. I didn’t want to tell you because I don’t want you to be sad.”
Ouch. That cut right through my heart. I’m not sure how many of you parents out there have felt this before, but it cuts. I’ve seen the change happening over the last few weeks- the kids “sticking up” for Hubs when we are teasing & goofing around; the girls constantly complimenting Hubs and putting me down; the girls leaving me out with a “but not mama!” I teased them jovially at first, then somewhat passive aggressively with “Oh, I’ll remember that when you want something!” and the like. But none of it is like hearing it put into words so plainly and concise.
Of course, there is the logical part of my brain telling me how this is all normal, that this is “just a phase” and that I should be happy that Hubs is developing a closer relationship with them, after all I have “had them” for the last few years.
Then there is the part of me that is feeling like the little kid left out on the playground, hurt and sad.
But above all of that is the angry teenager, or at least my memories of her, reminding me that this turn might be more permanent. I thought I would have more time, but don’t we always assume that? After all, I was one of those typical, angsty teenage girls that felt I knew it all and that my mother was my worst enemy. I don’t recall a start date or any particular incident that ignited it so it must have started slowly like a cancer. It carried on for years, until I finally left home and learned I missed her. Learned to appreciate her. To learn what it’s like to be human & struggle. To understand, no, only BEGIN to understand what she had done for me & continued to do for me because she loved me. I eventually “came around” and that bond has only gotten stronger as I have aged and begin to walk in her shoes through motherhood & start to really see the sacrifices that are needed, the headaches, heartaches, and pain that comes with it.
So as I looked at my Baggins’s earnest face I had no choice but to reply, “That’s okay. I love you just as much as I always have and always will.” And she smiled and kissed me because I am her mother and she loves me. Her perceived amount may vary each and every day based on my actions or her temperament, but my love for her will not. I had children to raise and love them not because I had a need to fill; a hole that I thought could be plugged by a child’s love. I also know that I’m her mother. An irreplaceable role and one that will have a large impact on her life. One that I want to be positive, reassuring, honest, and nonjudgemental.
Her papa might “win” today, but I know that I will always have a place in her heart neither he nor anyone else can inhabit. That there will inevitably be things that she will come to only me for. Tell me things she can tell no one else. Need a hug from me and no one else. Maybe even drive hours just to get it. How am I sure? Because that’s what my mom means to me.