For whatever reason, I struggled with myself over the weekend and Luciana struggled with herself. It’s like we both were feeling itchy in our skins —crankier and more indecisive than usual. Sunday afternoon we all lay down for family nap which has become a weekend ritual. I thought for sure I’d pass out like I usually do, but instead rested there staring at my daughter, tears running down my face because sometimes I can’t believe I could feel those hard feelings about motherhood which I hear all mamas feel. Of course they happen, and then they pass. They’ve passed–we had an amazing afternoon– but they got me thinking about some things I want to say to her. On Saturday we spent time with one of my best friends and her family and some of this is inspired by the beautiful way she and her husband talk to their 4-year-old, and the beautiful way that little girl talks back. Alysia, thank you.
You and Daddy are taking a nap. I thought I’d take one too but I just lay there looking at you. Couldn’t stop staring at you. You’re 20 months old. You sit down wherever you are if I ask you to wait for me. You remind me to sit while I’m eating. You tore into a head of cauliflower at the farmers’ market this morning, taking bites off the top of it like a rabbit. You wanted to ride every pony and switch off after about 1 minute on each. You know all the words to most of your books and can fill in the blank if I miss or skip a word.
I’ve watched you choose on more than one occasion to tell me you’re mad with your voice. I see you start to pull hair and then there’s a pause. You change your mind and instead you look at me and open your mouth really wide and yell til you’re red. I admire that so much! Sometimes I have a hard time not hurling things across the room and here you are making a more mature choice. I hope you always express yourself with as much honesty and conviction with me and I have no doubt you’ll continue to teach me about communication. Your big feelings and my big feelings over the weekend had me thinking and there’s something I want to tell you today–and I will tell you to your face sometime very soon:
No matter what difficult feelings arise and what you express to me or I express to you, I love you. No matter what difficult feelings arise and what we say to each other, I love Daddy and Daddy loves me. Grownups have angry, sad and frustrated feelings too and sometimes express those things in mad words and loud voices just like you. Whenever you get mad at someone, when those feelings pass, you can give that person a big hug and say I love you. I love you exactly as you are. And that makes the mad feelings disappear. That’s why Daddy and I gave each other lots and lots of extra hugs yesterday.
Your angry voice is just as beautiful as your happy voice and you can always use it with me. You absolutely have the right to use it. I might ask you what you’re feeling angry about—it helps me to know where your feelings are coming from to see if perhaps I can help you be with them—but if you don’t know that’s OK too. Sometimes we just feel because we feel.
Everything has cycles and everything passes. Sometimes when the happy passes we want it back and it will come back. Sometimes we want the sad to pass and it sticks around. But it will pass too! And then we can say SURPRISE! I found you again, HAPPY! I love you through every cycle and I will do my best to be an anchor when you hit a storm.
I am so happy to celebrate life and all of its colors with you, my gorgeous girl.