I still drop her off for school and watch her walk away until I can’t see her anymore. Then I tear up and drive for home. Okay, I more than tear up. I cry. I cry in my car and people see me and they probably think someone died, or I’m fighting with a lover, or something. Perhaps this extreme sentimentality is because she’s an only child and I struggle with the guilt of knowing she has never shared a moment with a sibling; perhaps it’s because I have to share her 1/2 time with her father and his wife and her child. Maybe it’s because during her childhood, I struggled financially and emotionally and therefore felt I couldn’t give her everything I wanted to; “memory makers”. I was told perhaps it’s because “You love her so much and it’s just that simple.” And that too, I’m sure is true.
Whatever it is, I’m convinced there is a cord that connects us and though it is sometimes stretched, it is absolutely there; shiny and golden. Attached to her, attached to me. She is my life force.
I wish I could go back. I want to go back. I’m not suggesting I regret, anything. I just wish I had known then what I know now. I am well aware (I preach it often) that I did what I could with the knowledge I had at the time. And that what I did do, was good. I just…want more time. I want to be sure I did everything I could, because I know I didn’t. I look back and I see where I faltered and where I failed, and where I was selfish and distant. It is true torture knowing what you could have done. I know I did good, I know I’m doing good. I know. But, it’s not good enough. Are we programed to torture ourselves as such? Is this part of the beautiful pain all parents experience? Is this what people who want children think they crave? Is this part of our genetic make up? These feelings of inadequacy, are they “normal?”
She’s a beautiful human, she’s kind and witty and fun and loving and genuine and very, very smart. I just wish I could have had more moments with her. I wish I could go back and hold her gaze, make sure she knew, in that moment, she was loved. I wish I could take away the times where she was put in a situation in which she became worried about her momma. Now she worries. Did I do that to her? Or is that something that daughters do when they love their mommas? I know I worry about my mom, but that’s different. You did good, mom.
I wish beyond wishes that I could do more, be more. I wish I could carry more burden, take away more pain, show her more love, make sure she experiences more joy. I want to know she squeezes every last drop out of every moment.
I’ve been musing on her age and the maturation during this time and I think maybe, because we are connected, I’m maturing along with her. Maybe, just maybe, I DO have time. Babies need time, attention, care. They are helpless. Toddlers and children need nurturing but also time to explore on their own and grow into their own personalities… Teens, they need us. I feel like she needs me more now than ever before.
My Midge, she knows who she is, she’s got a good idea of who she will become, she is truly a young woman. But she needs her momma. She asks me questions, she cries with me, she wants to be in my presence…just to know I’m there, to know she’s okay, that she’s got this; that the direction she’s heading is “okay.” I’m here to tell her those things, to smile at her and tell her she’s “okay”. I can tell her now she’s kind and witty and fun and loving and genuine and very, very smart. And she hears me and she believes me. She’s creating her…and I’m supporting her creation of her. She is my beautiful, painful cord.
Parenting: It’s all it’s cracked up to be, but not how you thought it’d be.
Wendie Gone Feral