I don’t have an easy relationship with my daughter. I used to worry–a lot–that it was an “adoption thing.” That we were somehow biologically out of step and our constant clashes over every single little tiny thing was a symptom of a PROBLEM requiring therapy and angst and lots of guilt.
But a few years ago, I talked to a close friend with two sons and a daughter and she met my eyes and told me matter-of-factly that she didn’t think so. “It’s just girls,” she said, “moms and daughters are hard. My girl gets to me in a way that my boys never do.”
I took a new look at our dynamics and saw things differently. My sons are snugglers, cajolers, charmers. They wheedle. They make requests with a hug thrown in for effect. They flirt with me, I realized, and it works. My daughter is exactly like me. She bosses. She demands. She snaps a quick, unpleasant retort when interrupted in her plans.
My sons are content to sail on the waters of my perfectly orchestrated day, occasionally requesting a slight detour if it wouldn’t be too inconvenient for me. My daughter is always wrestling me for the ship’s wheel.
I have no idea who taught her to be such a control freak. (Blush)
At the end of most days, when I finally put my head on my pillow and relax, I ward off the burn of mommy guilt by searching the day for quiet, positive moments. Amidst the yelling to get in the car already, the time outs, the directions, the hurry ups, and the stop thats, I can always find a few moments of laughter, patience, praise or snuggles. I force myself not to take whatever moments happened and not to tally because I fear my daughter and I would always come out behind.
Her “Most Thankful Things” book came home from school last week with a whole page devoted to reasons she was thankful for her family. It was lovely, and affirming, even if it’s the dog that snuggles with her and not me. “I’m thankful for my mom because she sings songs in the car with me,” she wrote.
It made me pause, not because the dog snuggles or Dad always, always loves her, but because I realized I was missing moments of connection with my girl. I wanted our daily positive moments to include “crawled into my lap and gave me hug” like her brothers, but that’s not her way. Why should it be? It’s not my way either; I’ve never voluntarily crawled into someone’s lap in my life. She meets my eyes in the rear view mirror when a good song comes on the radio and I turn up the volume. We sing. We laugh. We connect.
That’s us. And I need to start putting it on my list.
Every find yourself wondering Is There Anymommy Out There? Read more from Stacey here!