January 19, 2012
The summer of 2009 when I was pregnant with my son, my daughter and I were never closer. She had just finished up kindergarten, and I became a stay-at-home mom and was able to attend her award ceremony on the last day of school. The hot June afternoon was sweltering in the tiny gym. My husband's grandmother wanted to come along with me, and she loudly complained (much to my chagrin) when there were no seats left because we hadn't arrived there early enough.
A couple who were probably in their early forties must have heard her because they gave up their seats for us seeing that she's elderly and I was obviously pregnant. As I mentioned before, it was positively melting in there, and I was still dealing with the twenty-four hour "morning" sickness. I felt self-conscious and miserable but grateful to be present when my daughter was given her award.
When she went up to receive her award, I could see her anxiously searching the room for me. I stood up so I could get a good picture of her being handed her award, which allowed her to spot me easily since mostly everyone around me was sitting down. She beamed with relief, and I thought how lucky and awesome it is that beautiful, intelligent little girl is my daughter.
That summer was the best one since I became a parent. My daughter and I spent every day finding new things to do. She painted my toenails for me since I could no longer reach them being in my second trimester! I painted her fingernails and toenails. We read together, drew pictures, played games, and watched movies. We took walks every evening. I bought her a new Barbie bike with a Barbie helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads. She'd ride her bike while I walked alongside her. I read stories to her every night as she snuggled next to me.
Now, I couldn't get her to snuggle next to me if my life depended on it! But my reaction to her changes are probably only exacerbating the problem. Deep down, I think if I keep making a giant deal about it in front of her when she denies my request for a hug or some sort of closeness, this will cause her to want to become closer to me again.
But really, this isn't true the more I think about it. This probably will cause her to back off even more, which will start a vicious cycle of upsetting me and annoying her in turn. Instead, I ought to try a different tactic, such as seeing if she wants to work on an art project like we used to do. I also want to take her out to do something fun, like go shopping or see a movie, just the two of us girls.
I also need to change my thinking. She's swiftly growing up and isn't going to be freely giving out hugs like she used to when she was younger. Although I must say she's never allowed me to hug her at school in the morning when I drop her off, even when she was in kindergarten!
Now my daughter is nine going on sixteen, and I am working on feeling okay with that.