My daughter is speaking more, and more clearly, than ever. To my delight and horror, depending upon what comes out of her mouth. Because it’s almost all me. Oh, there’s some Daddy in there, and Mimi and Poppy, and a fair sprinkling of Hobby Kids. But most of it is me. And I’m not always pretty.
But sometimes she moves me to tears, man.
Like last night. Mimi and I were going shopping after work, and it was for Anya, so of course Anya could not go. But I couldn’t tell her that, because Santa/childhood magic things. So I was upfront, but vague: “Mommy has to go somewhere with Mimi and run errands. I’ll be back soon. You need to stay here, because reasons.”
She was cool at first — one lone tear, which is downright stoic for my living anime character. But then she called me into the bedroom. Patted the bed and told me to sit.
“Listen. Listen, Mom.”
I smiled. “I’m listening.”
“Remember that time when you went [somewhere…I didn’t catch that part]? Remember? When you were gone?”
“Yes, baby. Mommy hates to leave you, but every so often, Mommy has to. I’ll bring you a treat when I come back, though.”
She put her hands on my cheeks and looked deep into my eyes. “I missed you, Mom. Really missed you. Don’t go. Stay here and play with me.”
No tears, no yelling, no lashing out. Just simple, quiet, rational discourse. From my 4-year-old. About how she can’t bear to be away from me — even with the promise of a treat.
Note that she wasn’t begging to go. She wasn’t objecting to being left behind; she was objecting to being away from me. Nothing like a coating of Mommy Guilt to make an outing complete.
And she did it not by using my worst behavior against me, but my best. The mommy I wish I always were: Calm, gentle, thoughtful.
Oh, Santa was good to her last night. Yes, indeedy.