And so it goes…I spent Good Friday crying in a park. Tears don’t come easily any more. Once a wet blubbery mess now I only choke up when someone wins a race or the love birds get together at the end of the movie. For whatever reason, a wall came up at some point and dammed the river.
Yesterday though was enough to break the wall. Two days of “I want my Daddy” and then a tired little girl crying herself silly because she couldn’t get herself to sleep. We pulled over in the Ballina botanical gardens and I thought I would take her in the sling to get her to sleep. I thought it would nurture our mother-daughter bond. Instead, she screamed louder “I want my Daddy!”, her face a wet mess. At that point the wall came down, and beside a lake of lily pads dappled with sunlight, I howled.
For the first time, in her distress, my daughter didn’t want me. I couldn’t help her. The pain was unforgivable.
I know it wasn’t rational. My husband rationally explained the situation away. But I couldn’t escape the hurt. So much of my motherhood and contentedness of the last two years has hinged on the fact that I have felt unconditional boundless love. Now it felt that conditions applied and it was just little old me alone in the world. Let’s not kid ourselves that kids complete us and we will never feel lonely again.
In my husband’s rational explanation I found one strand to hold onto, although it seemed ludicrous. A few days ago Elka very reasonably decided that I couldn’t carry her in the sling because I was carrying a baby and she was too heavy for me. So she would go with Daddy. Very reasonable. And only days later, I was insisting on carrying her in the sling, despite it being bad for me and the baby. It was just possible that in her mind this all made sense.
That evening, she graciously allowed me to put her to bed, and snuggled into me. She was sad that I had to go to work this morning. And then after work, when I was carrying her, she said, ‘No, Mummy you have a baby. I am too heavy. Daddy can carry me.’
Is it possible that I can still underestimate the emotional intelligence and kindness of my daughter? A new leaf was turned, only to reveal a deeper and more considerate side to my child. Whoever says that children under three are egotistical are wrong. And whoever says that motherhood is a selfless act only need hear my story. I am just as selfish in motherhood as I ever was. Perhaps I should open my heart to my child and learn more.