My kids are getting so grown-up.
This may seem self-evident to a lot of people. Duh, that is what children do. Dumbass. (Shakes head and walks away). But let me tell you, it totally sneaks up on you. I swear to God, just last week I was still breastfeeding both girls (quite a feat, let me tell you, since one is currently 3 and the other 12, and the 12 year old I only breastfed for a few weeks...)
Alexis actually cuddled with me today. Willingly, without being sick. She has never been a cuddler. As a baby, she would not let me out of her sight, but when I did attempt to love on her, I could almost hear in her baby babbles the "It burns! It burns!" that her father tries to get her to tell me when I kiss her now. (Noticing a theme around here with the warped-ness of our minds? Poor things never had a chance with us running the show...) As I sat in the recliner and held her, her head resting on my breast, holding her little hand in mine, I realized that there was going to come a very definite day when this would end, and that I needed to savor it. So I stopped for a minute and soaked it all up.
For me, that was huge. I am of the variety that I seriously think that the world will end if I am not doing something, or at least pretending to do something or actively doing something. I am extremely high strung and tense and living with me is not pleasant, as I have said before. I have no delusions that my children will not one day tell their therapists that I am solely responsible for their issues because, well, I probably will be. But as I sat there with Alexis tonight, I realized that I cannot remember the last time that I cuddled like that with Elizabeth. I started to wonder about that date. Did I in fact push her away before she was ready, because I felt the need to be doing something, anything? WTF is wrong with me that I would think that there could be anything more important than taking those five or ten minutes that my child needed to make her feel loved? Did I allow myself to fully relax, or was I sitting there tense, ruminating in my mind of all the things that I COULD be doing? Things that really, were meaningless in comparison to what I was doing at that exact moment.
Elizabeth in many ways has gotten a bit of the short shrift from me. I was very young when I had her...16 (almost 17, but like that makes it any better.) I was not married to her father, still in high school...so cliche a situation it makes me wince...honor student getting knocked up. There are things that I am able to do for Alexis now that I cringe to think about how I handled with Elizabeth. It is a simple matter of resources and maturity. But I was also able to spend a lot more time with Elizabeth. Granted, I was in college and worked a shit ton. However, I did not have a husband and house to worry about. I had significantly more energy. I did not have clients who sometimes sucked the soul out of me. I also lived in a more suburban area, where there were things that we could go DO.
Trade offs, I suppose. Elizabeth is simply an awesome human being. She may make me want to tear my hair out, but she truly is just a cool gal. Who knows, maybe once she moves full force into teen-dom, her issues will surface and she will do a 180. All I know is, someday I will have to thank her for being my kid and letting me screw up so much with her, because it did benefit her sister. I just hope that is enough consolation for her.