Monday, January 12, 2009

The Understudy

Very recently I decided I needed to get to know my oldest child. She, being the extremely capable, competent, intelligent, self-sufficient sort, was kind of easy for me to, uhm, ignore. For a while.

Now, it's not as bad as it sounds. Actually, it might be as bad as it sounds. Of course, the child was fed, clothed, kissed, disciplined, loved, encouraged but rarely meaningfully engaged by me, her mother.

Isn't that tragically sad? And I mean "Wuthering Heights" tragic. "Terms of Endearment" sad. Sad like you get when you read a news story that just takes your legs out.

When I realized it, not a small piece of me ignited and in a flash, turned to cinder and will likely cling to some other, still living chunk of me until the day the rest of me dies, as a reminder of what a horrible thing it was: ignoring this girl.

Not a surprise, it took me a few tries to link in to her. My husband, a truly gifted parent, can do this INSTANTLY. I flubbed and stuttered and acted the fool for a few rounds before I felt like I was really getting her and she was letting me get her.

I can't express the relief the terror of the relief I feel that I got my self re-connected to this child prior to the "bus incident". This week I got to tell her that as a mother, as her mother, I know I make a lot of mistakes. I got to tell her that I know I kind of suck sometimes. I also got to tell her that with this thing, this "bus incident", her mother will shine. That this thing, I will get absolutely right. And I will. I am.

She's only 8 years old. She's spectacular. She needs me. ME. Not that nasty crone I send in all too often to fill my slot. I need to take back my role and own the bitch.

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