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Pieces of My Heart

25 Aug

Jenna and I have a little morning “ritual” that we go through every day. When she wakes up she calls for me. Usually, she shouts, “Mommy! I’m AWAKE!” repeatedly and with escalating volume, until I arrive. I go in, turn on the light, and scoop her up out of her crib. I say, “Good Morning, Pumpkin!” and she lays her head down on my shoulder and snuggles in while she pats my back softly. We stand like that quietly for a minute or so, and then I whisper, “I love you, Pumpkin.” She pushes back and looks at me with a sweet smile, gives me a big kiss and says, “I love you too, Mommy.” And so our day begins.

Not so much today.

This morning, when she woke up, she started repeating (with escalating volume), “Mommy! I’m your FRIEND!” Usually, this is her cue that she’s feeling snuggly and wants to hug you or put her arm(s) around you. I smiled a little bit and went in her room feeling all warm and fuzzy. I turned on the light and scooped her up. She laid her head on my shoulder and patted my back. I softly whispered, “I love you, Pumpkin.” and she pushed back, looked me in the eye, and made a horrible grouchy face.

Me: Why are you making such a grouchy face?

J: Because I DON’T love you!

Ouch. I nonchalantly placed her on the changing table and casually said, “Well, I DO love you.” and continued onto other conversation. But inside, I felt like a piece of my heart had broken. Not so much because of what she said. I know she didn’t mean it. She’s testing her tiny wings. Gaging my reaction, discovering the power of words, testing her power to think (and speak) independently of what she knows the expected response to be. I know all that. But a tiny piece of my heart broke because I know it marks a small turning point. A turning point from the baby who adored me without question for two years. A turning point toward a thousand more times that she will say, or imply, “I hate you,” “You’re mean,” “You’re embarrassing,” “I don’t want to be with you.”

Then another piece of my heart broke when I realized how many times I put my own mom through this.

I know it’s a part of growing up. I know it’s part of finding her wings and gaining independence. All things that, of course, I want for my child. There’s just no way I ever figured it would be this hard. How can you want them to grow up and be independent at the very same time that you want them to stay tiny and adoring. Believing that you can do magic and running to you with their “owies” and their joys. I know I’ve got lots of years filled with snuggling, adoring, joy-sharing and magic-weaving. I want to treasure every minute. Because, even though I know that I’ll be proud of her and her accomplishments, I also know without a doubt that, with every step she takes toward independence and growing up, she’ll take another small piece of my heart with her.

Carry my heart well, Pumpkin. Carry my heart well.

And, Mom? I hope that I’m doing you proud today as I carry your heart with me. I know that I couldn’t be the mommy I am without all the pieces of your heart that you gave. I love you.

Where did my baby go?

She’s growing up fast

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12 Comments

Posted by on August 25, 2008 in Family, Jenna, Stream of consciousness

 

12 responses to “Pieces of My Heart

  1. Mama Ginger Tree

    August 25, 2008 at 1:16 am

    So sweet. Motherhood is bittersweet in so many ways.

     
  2. iMommy

    August 25, 2008 at 1:57 am

    What a great post, so well written. It breaks my heart a little just to read it!

    It’s coming for all of us, and it’s part of having a family, but man, I wish it didn’t have to hurt quite so much.

     
  3. Insta-Mom

    August 25, 2008 at 3:54 am

    I totally know that moment. MiniMe did the same thing to me. Have patience…now he likes to tell me that he loves me “tooooo much.”

     
  4. Mom

    August 25, 2008 at 3:59 am

    Yes, you do me proud!!!! πŸ™‚ You always have and you always will ! And yes, independence is incredibly hard and painful at times – – but also gratifying to know you did somethings right πŸ™‚ You are still my pumpkin even as you pass it on.

    Now to dry the tears and get to bed. Love you always!!!

     
  5. anymommy

    August 25, 2008 at 5:29 am

    You’re breaking my heart too. You are so right, the days of being number one in their eyes are slipping, slipping, slipping away. Beautiful post!

     
  6. Kate

    August 25, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    This is probably one of the only perks of having a child with delayed speech. Since my oldest (who has delayed speech) is only three and the other two are only just starting to talk, I have of yet to be pierced through the heart with a less than loving comment.

    But you really handled it the best way….what an astute observation that she was just testing you and really paying attention to your reaction. So that’s one button that she won’t push again (or at least not as often as she might have). I am going to remember this one for future!

     
  7. Rainy @ Perfectly Normal

    August 25, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    I started getting all choked up when I read this. That’ll teach me to read blogs at work! I had to quickly dash away my tears before anyone saw.

    My almost 4-year-old was sent to her room the other day and shouted at me through the door, “I don’t like you Mama!” Whereas my 7-month-old has nothing but smiles for me.

    I love to see the older one advancing, but boy do I savor the easy lovin’ baby.

     
  8. psychmamma

    August 25, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    MGT & iMommy –

    Amen sisters!

    Insta-Mom –

    I guess it just goes in cycles and we have to take it when we can get it. πŸ™‚

    Mom –

    Love you!

    AnyMommy –

    Sorry for the broken heart. Just a little payback for all the times you’ve done it to me. πŸ˜‰

    Kate –

    I’m sure it’s not often that you think of perks associated with delayed speech, but even Hubby and I sometimes find ourselves saying, “Remember when we were trying so hard to get her to talk??” πŸ™‚

    Rainy –

    This mommy “gig” sure does wreak havoc on our emotions, doesn’t it? It’s full of ups and downs and laughter and tears. And totally worth all of it.

     
  9. Tammy and Parker

    August 27, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    Such a beautiful post. Watching them grow up is such a bittersweet experience.

    She is as gorgeous as her Mommy!

     
  10. psychmamma

    August 27, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Tammy & Parker –

    Thanks for the wonderful compliment. Sometimes I look at her and can’t believe she’s my baby.

     
  11. Mekhismom Aka RenΓ©e

    August 28, 2008 at 4:17 am

    I love the photos and this is a great post! time seems to slip away doesn’t it?

     
  12. jen

    September 5, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    ouch. i feel it for you.

    it hurts so much when they say it. i know, there are reasons. but it still hurts.

    i always (yes it happens more as they get older) respond the same way. “well…that’s too bad…because i REALLY love you lots. do you remember how much i love YOU??” her answer is (usually), “as big as the universe…but i love you as big as the sky, ’cause that’s bigger.” honestly, i don’t know which is actually bigger…but…it tends to get me the response i want. πŸ™‚

     

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