Thursday, August 5, 2010

An experiment and an anniversary...

Two completely different topics today. One makes me very contemplative and somewhat sad….the other lights up my world.

First the tough one. My daughter. I eluded to the fact yesterday that sometimes I struggle parenting her. Let me be clear – this is all MY burden, no fault of hers…she’s only 9. I’m sure I’m going to say some things that shock you and make you want to hit the unfollow button but say them I must. The thing is I’m going to admit that while my amount and volume of love for my girls is the same….I still love them differently. Because they are different. One is harder for me to love, one is easier….but love them I do. The one I’m talking about has a nickname. It’s Watermelon. (Don’t ask, just love it) Watermelon needs me…a lot. She needs extra love, extra kisses, extra hugs, extra time, is super sensitive, super loving, smart, and beautiful. On days when I’ve worked my brain for 9 hours and have work from two other jobs still looming and I get home, I just want to veg. I want to love on an even stance….I don’t have it in me to over-love like she needs.

I don’t want to be needed that much. It drains me and so I avoid it. I give the normal amount….which is not what she needs. She did not choose to be my daughter, I chose to be her parent. I want to give her everything she needs so she never has to grow up and write blogs where she says she was neglected….like I do. I want to be available to her and open…not closed off because I simply don’t have the strength to handle the emotions she makes me face. It’s MY problem, not hers, that she makes me remember being a little girl…wanting extra…and not getting it. How dare I perpetuate that feeling in anyone else on this earth?

She’s also at an age where she can be snotty and say nasty things when she’s mad and we can fight – and that alone – adds to the fact that I don’t want to extra love her. She is a kid so one minute she can hate me, and the next she needs me to hold her. I’m an adult – I can’t let go that easy.

The thing is I want to change all this. I’m done repeating history and patterns just because it’s easier to go with the status quo. The bottom line is…

She needs me. And she needs me to step it up. And I can. If I would just try.

The thing is – I need to not love her more….I need to find a way to like her more. Like her as in wanting to talk to her, spending time with her, planning me and her time. I need to like her as a person as well as love her as a mom. Or I’ll scar her forever and she’ll feel neglected and unloved….like I did….and she’ll know it was a choice I made. And she’ll resent that…

Soooo – the experiment is this. I’ve made a list of things I can do with her. Just her. Like read before bed together out loud every night. Do each other’s nails. Have a soda session where we go to the local eatery and just share a soda…her and I. Go out for lunch. Shop for a day. Go in HER room and talk. Download songs together. Etc. The point is – me and her – that’s it. Time. My attention. My “extra” love.

Undivided. Not forced. Real. More.

I’m going to implement these things without telling her and see how it changes her….and me. It’s my choice and she’s worth making it.

Oh that was heavy....and didn't paint me a in very good light but it's the truth...and I'm done pretending it's not.

On to the anniversary.

20 years ago today Rambo and I had our first date…we saw the movie Ghost. Some time this month we’ll both be getting a tiny ghost tattoo with a tiny read heart on its chest. It’s the day that started it all. The hopes, the dreams, the possibilities….the love I never thought I deserved…and probably still don’t. 20 years later and Rambo still gives me butterflies…still calms me with one touch of his hand….still makes my breath come easier if he walks in a room. He is the half of me that makes me whole and he’s the love and kind of man I pray and hope my girls marry some day. He’s the kind of father I wish I had and seeing him with my girls can still take my literal breath away. Without him, I am not me. And I wouldn’t want to be. I love you Rambo…..you and all your guns….here’s to another 20…and another….and another……..

32 comments:

Amanda said...

Kids can be challenging, and I do understand the feeling of being sucked dry by one (or the other -- in my case both boys are limpets bless their hearts). It sounds like you have an excellent action plan. It's something like what I've implemented, and I have to say the effect has been well worth it.

And happy anniversary :)

Lucas said...

You'll get no judgement from me love. I don't know how ANY of you people do it, parent, that is. Thanks for being so honest. If anything, I love you MORE for it.

Congrats on the anniversary. Marriage is hard but so very rewarding.

Dazee Dreamer said...

That was a beautiful tribute to your husband. Thank you for that.

You will do fine with your daughter. Why, because you are aware of the fact. You aren't hiding it under a rug. You are a great mother. hugs

Angela Pea said...

Draz - parenting isn't easy for ANYONE, and I'm pretty sure that everyone has at least one child that is harder to love!

You've already won the battle by recognizing that you need to make a change, and you'll win the war because you have a plan and the guts to carry it out.

As for your anniversary...*sigh*. That is just so sweet. I still feel the same about my Hubby, and we've been married forever!

Pamela E. Williams said...

No judgement here either dear Draz. know that my pet name for you "dear Draz." You are such a dear.

I encourage you to do all those things you listed for your daughter, but I think you will find something else that you didn't realize. That same extra love that you will be giving "Watermelon" will be that extra love that you needed yourself. It will be hard, I don't doubt that and it will be an effort that "at first" will be a chore, but as you get more into it the "extra" love will blossom just like it did with Rambo.

The fact that you don't want her to grow up like you did will be that driving force. Let it be fuel that pushes you forward on your quest. I know you can do it and most of all I know that you will.

I ♥ you dear Draz. Much love.

Gilly said...

I loved that!!!!!!!! ALL of it!

MandaPanda said...

I second and third what others have said here. There are certainly days where the two little minions I have at home just seem to demand more than I have to give them. I'm not as patient as I should and I yell more than I should. All parents do. Parenting isn't easy. I think you're doing a fine job. Happy Anniversary!

MrsFatass said...

So you just know my heart inside out sometimes. My two kids - they are both loved FEROCIOUSLY - but one is easy to like, and one is not. And for this imperfect mom with all her quirks and dislikes (being touched being one of those dislikes), having a high maintenance kid with many of the same quirks (and same diagnosis) I often wonder how we're going to make it through.

MizFit gave me a great line, though. She says we're all going to mess up our kids somehow, but our kids will know that all those mistakes came from a place of LOVE.

Just doing the best we can.

And you know what? The love/like issue is so common. Happens in all families, only not every parent is willing to be honest about it.

It's okay. I have a hunch that no matter what, your kids know their momma loves them.

JourneyBeyondSurvival said...

DRaz. That's amazing. You're all set. I think this is a great thing to do. And you're right. I need to do the same thing with miss THANG.

Ice Queen said...

Parenting is the hardest, most complex job on the planet. There is no class, no degree program, nothing that can truly prepare us for it. We just have to dive in and do it. It is all OJT. Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we stumble a bit, have to step back, assess, regroup and try something else.

I am a mother of one, so I never had to work through the conflict of loving more than one child, yet struggling to like one. But my mother has told me about this happening. (She had seven. lol) From talking to other parents of more than one, your problem is actually pratty common.

Remember, kids are people. They have diverse personalities and traits that we like and traits that we don't. The thing, I think is to learn to balance our reactions to these traits so that we can parent effectively, love completely.

As I have said before, I have no doubt that you love your daughter completely. And that you are a good mom. If you weren't, you wouldn't give a flying damn about how your reactions to her might effect her. I think that special one on one time is a great idea.

Congratulations on twenty years together with your man. I hope that they two of you have at least a couple more twenty years of this ahppiness to share. *raising a glass*

Roxie said...

Draz, I'm new to this being a mother gig, and already there are days I really don't like my child. It doesn't mean I don't love him at the same time. I'm sure he doesn't like me at times either.

You have set up a great goal to spend more special time with your daughter. I hope you both enjoy it immensely. She's just lucky to have a mother that can see what she needs and help her understand it all.

Big Grats on your anniversary. 20 years is amazing. For me to even feel the love emanating from your posts about Rambo, it's inspirational. Here's to the next 20!

Stephanie said...

You are so open and honest it just makes me adore you more. I can SO relate to you. Just last night, I was just reading the Dr. Laura book you had recommended to me (Bad Childhood, Good Life) and there was something very similar to this. You know what you need to do, you know what you want to do. Sometimes being a parent is hard, but you love her and you want to be happy. Knowing you have "an issue" helps because you can make a consious effort to do what needs to be done. I wish you all the best, Draz.

Carmen said...

i think i was the kid that my mom had to love extra, i was so closed off and introverted she was always trying to get me out of my shell. some of my best memories of my mom and growing up are those mommy & carmen times...i just know that despite of watermelon's snottiness etc, those draz and watermelon times will be the best memories she will have.
i love you extra not because you need it but because i want to! xooxo :-)

Sumer said...

I heart you!

Teresa said...

I fully understand everything you wrote. You actually put into words the way I have been feeling about my youngest daughter and never really realized it. She is more needy than her sister and sometimes I just dont wanted to be that needed. I am going to try harder to "like" her. I am like you. I love her with all my heart. Thank you for being so open and honest.

Scuttleboose said...

Congrats on your 20 years - amazing! :) I love the tattoo idea!
Some of the most useful advice that I ever received (although it was about a marriage, not a parent-child relationship) is that when both of you might want different things, try to do what you think will most help the relationship. I am so proud of you for making those changes, and keep in mind she is a kid - and it is hard to be a kid! :)
(hugs!)

Sarah said...

I understand where you are coming from. My 12 year old DD is so much like me it's scary. We're both headstrong, independent, and stubborn. Makes for some wicked fights. We'll get through it and hopefully we'll both be better people for it.

Happy Anniversary to you and Rambo!

Pie said...

You have no idea how much I appreciate reading posts like this versus the typical over bubbly super positive "mommy bloggers" out there who just poop skittles and rainbows all the time. This was honest and real and I'm sure that there are people reading it who feel the exact same way and who appreciate knowing they are not alone. You probably even gave them some great ideas.

Also, Ghost makes me cry like a banshee every. single. time. Happy anniversary!

Nella said...

Beautiful!

Maria said...

Draz, you are a wonderful mom just for being able to be honest about stuff like that. And Happy Ghost Anniversary!

Fiona said...

I totally understand the loving two kids differently thing and just to let you know it never changes. Mine are 18 and 23 and they both need lots of hugs and attention. They can both be total pains in the neck and thats when you have to love them more. You will be great, your action plan sounds perfect. Warm fuzzy hearts of congrats on your anniversary, you soppy sausage xxxxx

Cindylew said...

Wow...this only makes me think better of you...not worse. I don't have kids (unless you count the furry kind) so I won't pretend to know what you're going through. But I can tell you that your plan sounds amazing and nurturing and I think I told you this before...I wish you were my mom.
I am SOOOOO excited for your daughter because she doesn't even know how wonderful her life is about to get. She'll be curious as to why you're being so darn nice and then she won't care...she'll simply thrive. You will literally change who she is on this earth.
I love you Draz.

Jules - Big Girl Bombshell said...

What a powerful post. YES...that is a challenge that most parents face and you described it with flair.

As my kids are grown now, I went through so many similar feelings. Single parent, shift work, LOTS of overtime, I use to put myself in time out for 20 minutes when I got home from work. They got that. Each of them, at some point, got to a point where I didn't like them much.
What I was able to learn, was I asked THEM what they wanted to do.
I got to go fishing, go to the park and swing, play dress up, play hide and seek, watch a cartoon with them. I learned that they are individuals and my job as a parent was to also let them choose what would make our time quality instead of what I thought.

Kristin said...

You aren't alone on the "harder to love" child front. It's comforting to hear it from someone else, although I know it's not terribly unusual. I still feel guilty about it.

Your plan sounds perfect - constructive and fun and making memories together.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

Kerri said...

OMG!!! 20 years since GHOST came out? WOW, I am getting old!

Happy Anniversary!!

AmeyinIdaho said...

I love how you are able to put into words what so many of us are thinking. I have a hard-to-like child too. I love him with all my heart, I'd walk through fire over broken glass for him. But he's needy and clingy and hyper and drives me up a wall some days. And the more I try to get 15 minutes alone the more he irritates me. I know he just wants my time and my undivided attention, but honestly I cannot bear to hear one more word about Pokemon or a DS game without my head spinning and spewing pea soup. And really...where is my husband going to find an exorcist after business hours? LOL

I think I will try some of your ideas. It can't hurt. And hopefully it will help.

Thank you again Draz....I am definitely giving you a huge hug in Chicago!!!

V said...

i'm sure you are a 1000X better than you give yourself credit for. and you are ahead of the game...you already know what can make things "better". YOU CAN DO IT. :)

Tina said...

That sounded extremely positive to me and I know exactly how you feel. I have four daughters and they are all individuals and some of them are much easier to be friends with than others. The good news is that at different stages of their lives the friendship changes and they each get their turn...Having grown kids and a 9 year old it helps me put thing sin perspective and that is a good thing. You seem to have a lot of perspective and you don't even have any grown ones yet!!

Karen@WaistingTime said...

You are not the only parent who feels this way. My guess is that things, feelings and your relationship, will change and evolve overtime, as most things do. Being a mom is hard sometimes; sounds like you are doing a great job. Hang in there.

Genie @ Diet of 51 said...

Oh, Draz, I had to come back and read this one since it was your biggie this week according to BYOC Friday.

I think you're being an awesome parent! Many moms who truly believe that they fart gumdrops (and their kids, too) would never arrive at this reality!!! You see it and have a plan of action. THAT IS SO FANTASTIC!!!

Congrats on the 20th anniversary of your first date with Rambo; that's a sweet milestone.

Bonnie said...

Sounds like you are meeting this challenge head on, as always. I am also blessed to be married to a wonderful man.

TnT said...

Hi, I'm new to your blog, but not new to you.

I have an almost 8yr old daughter and what you're saying about her needing extra love is exactly how my DD is. Maybe it's the age. She's my oldest and her baby sister has stolen the show for a bit, so I think she needs my extra attention sometimes. But I feel the same way. I work full-time outside the home and sometimes I don't want to hear the word 'mom' one more time. I feel your pain, I REALLY do.

My advice was going to be spending one on one time with her, but it seems to me you're already on your way. It really does make a difference and she will appreciate it.

Sometimes when I'm ready to hang her from the roof because it seems like I've been on her case for weeks, I make some special time for us and she instantly becomes less needy, and I calm down a bit and appreciate her for who she is. My precious daughter. *hugs*