My sweet girl,
I try to act as if it doesn’t bother me that you won’t let me read you a bedtime story. Or that when I open my arms to you, you look me dead in the eye and say, “NO MOMMY. DADDY!” Or that when you wake up in the middle of the night or at the start of the day, you stand up in your crib and you yell, “Daddddddy! Daaaaaaddy” even though, it’s me – the lowly Mommy, who has picked you up from your crib every single morning of every single day you have been alive.
Your father tries to protest… tells you to let Mommy pick you up… let Mommy read you a story… oh, but it’s too much. It’s like asking someone why you weren’t invited to the party that everyone else was invited to. It’s too painful to question. Best to just pretend that you had better things to do that night away, right? That your heart isn’t cracking into a million pieces, while you try to smile as say, “No, no. It’s ok. You read to her tonight.”
Frankly, I mostly understand. I mean, I prefer Daddy to myself right now too. Reading a book with mommy isn’t comfortable because due to my belly, you have to sit all sideways and half off my lap. And when you move around I’m forever telling you to “be careful of the baby” and admonishing you to “be easy with Mommy”. I can’t hold you for very long before I have to pass you off to Daddy or your brother because you weigh 32 pounds and I’m not supposed to lift or carry things over 25 pounds. I still do it. I pick you up every single time you lift your arms to me because it’s such a surprise gift that you actually want me to hold you that I don’t care what abdominal muscles I pull… it’s worth it.
On weekends, I sleep alot. You have far more one-on-one time with Daddy because Mommy is sleeping… always sleeping… but honey, if I don’t sleep and rest on the weekends I won’t be able to get through the work weeks and in this economy, it’s really, really important that Mommy keeps working… as long as she can. I wish I wasn’t so tired. I wish I wasn’t having you and your brother in my late 30s and was all young and springy – but I’m not. I’m TIRED. And I’m sure that really bums you out. All the resting and the putting my feet up. You have been a good helper to me, picking things up that I drop (endlessly) and throwing your own diapers away.
So, you may not like me very much right now… and you may like me even less in May when I have your little brother and he eats up most of my attention each day. But know this, I like you VERY much. And I don’t mean love you- because I do with all my heart – but I really LIKE who you are.
You are so smart and funny. I love that you refuse to walk normally and lurch around like a zombie one minute and then tippy toe like a ballerina until you tire of that and start hopping everywhere you go.
I love that you laugh hysterically when the ugly duckling turns into the splashing swan and that you cram all your left-over food you don’t want into your juice or milk (to your father’s endless dismay). I love that you always look for the moon and stars and when we are outside at dusk… and that you love to cook with me in the kitchen, whether it’s bread or cookies or cupcakes or pizza.
I’m amazed that at just 2 years and 4 months, you already can count. Not just memorizing your numbers up to 12, but actually look at something and count how many there are. That you recognize all your numbers, even if they are mixed up – well, sometimes you mix up 7 and 9, but damn – who doesn’t? You know all your animals and the sounds they make and all your colors and shapes. We are working the alphabet and I can’t wait until you can read – and not only because your father and I read you at least 10 books a day, but because it will BLOW YOUR MIND how amazing reading is…. I can’t wait for you to read the books I loved as a little girl…
I love that you sing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and “ABCs” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and when you get in trouble, you yell at your dolls. “No! NO! NO!”, you tell them – pointing your little toddler finger at them, brow furrowed.
I wish I knew what “farn” and “bumber” were. You refer to them a lot and it’s a complete mystery to me… but all girls need their secrets and I’d rather you kept this from me than secretly going on The Pill some day because you don’t want to tell me. I tell myself you will tell me those things… because I will foster that kind of open relationship with you.. the kind where we tell each other things like that. But probably, my mom thought that, too — and oh, the things my mom didn’t know about me….
You look like your Dad, but you act like me… and that give me hope that we’ll get one another some day. Or else we’ll be too alike and be at each others throats. My Memere and I are too alike to get along, sometimes… but we love each other fiercely because of it.
You say your sorry over and over and over again when it’s not your fault and refuse to apologize when it is. You love completely and loyally, but you like to keep people guessing. You are so stubborn, you’d rather lose what you want than give in to anyone. You hate to see anyone sad or crying and will console them with hugs and kisses. Like me, you love music and poetry and art – and like your father, you love computers and numbers and being outside.
What I’m trying to tell you is that you are the only daughter I will ever have and I’m the only Mom you will have and I know how the mother-daughter dynamic is alternately wonderful and horrible… and it’s ok if you don’t like me right now. I understand.
I love you anyway – and I like you anyway… and one of these days, you’ll like me back.
Even when I don’t have jellybeans.