I think…Summer sort of told me she loved me last night (not with words of course, let’s not get crazy). This is something I wasn’t expecting for years, and I also wasn’t sure what it would feel like. I mean, kids simply do not have the depth and severity of love for their parents like parents do for them. My love for her is completely unconditional (but obvious and not-so-obviously differs from the love between Tim and I). Tim and I will always have an exchange, actions and words that keep the other one aware of how loved and adored they are. We can always count on each other for that. But with Summer, I am totally prepared to lavish everything I have on her without the same sort of reciprocity. Therein lies the mystery in what receiving love from your own children is like. But just yesterday, I think she and I exchanged something like an understanding of love. For all I know this is completely in my head but whatevs. Allow me to describe:
Last night Summer had a particularly monstrous bed time.
Typically, she’ll have a bath, be really cuddly and giggly for a bit, and then settle down for the last supper. Most nights she falls asleep while eating. Whenever she doesn’t, we just lay her in her crib after we are positive that she is no longer hungry, and sometimes she’ll cry and squirm about for a while but she falls asleep on her own pretty quickly. Recently, this has all been transpiring by 11:00 the latest, but last night 11:00 came and went and there was little chatty Summer, displaying zero interest in leaving the party. Uh-oh.
At a little after 11, I laid her in her crib. This was met with expected crying so I quickly left and shut the door. (Such sounds are too painful to bear.) Ten minutes go by and this girl is WAILING. I mean screaming, freaking out, losing it. I went back in her room half-tempted to rip it apart searching for the predator making her squawk so hideously. I rubbed her back and shushed her until she calmed down. Side note: it really is the weirdest thing that babies like being shushed. I literally loathe it. Actually, it’s the only time I got mad during labor–when I thought Tim was shushing me.
I stayed for a long time and when she seemed okay, I left again. This time it took only two minutes for the crying to escalate to sheer hysteria comparable to a miserable hyena. Nonny Karen is visiting so she went in to have a go at it. By this point, we are all on the verge of tears because of how horrid and sad the crying is, and because we are simply dying to watch the season premiere of Homeland and we’re already a day behind (#goodbyebreakingbad). Haha just kidding, it is completely because we hate when she cries (she so rarely does) and by now I’m feeling like the worst mother in the world. I keep thinking about how she must be so mad at me cause if I were her I’d be screaming in contempt, not loneliness. Like jeez woman why you gotta be so cold.
Soon I heard footsteps coming down the hallway and thought “Holy crap. This has gotten so bad that Summer taught herself to walk so that she could escape.” But no; I learned that as soon as Nonny picked her up, she began throwing herself at and reaching for the door. So now here she was: her face salty and wet and her eyes fixed on me. I am the target of her fury and I am full of guilt because she must feel full of betrayal. Tim took her and whispered loving thoughts to her in a way that would have hushed me contentedly, but to each their own, I guess. Her eyes stayed on me. I ashamedly began making my way towards her to shower her in apologies and kisses and cuddles, and I was met with her lunging at and reaching for me. I winced and prepared for the blow, but no. She just held me and I seriously died. She just hugged me and cried into my shoulder much more softly, and truly we were both so grateful for each other. I bounced her up and down until she finally slipped into slumber. In order to prolong this magical moment of her sweet love, I shrunk into the rocking chair and just kept her close to me for a while longer before I laid her peacefully in her bed. I was literally ecstatic.
I know I’m really stretching the significance of this, but to me her choice of, hugs for, and contentment with me was a gift. It was her saying “I love you, mama!” long before I expected it. I am so excited for little gifts like these that I will unexpectedly receive throughout her life, hopefully culminating in her friendship.
Side note: Summer totally adores Tim. I’m definitely not the only person she ever wants to spend time with. And when Tim is playing his guitar or singing, it’s over. And also she was alone with Nonny for a while yesterday and today and was totally happy. This was just a random incident of her wanting my affection that just slaughtered me with yummies.
P.S.S. I am in no way against Ferberizing.
Lastly, this was all over by 11:45, for those interested.
Here are some photos!