Daddy’s girl


When we had Sammy, the husband was over the moon. Not because he was a boy, but because it was his child, his first.

In truth, I believe he was actually hoping for a girl when we found ourselves expecting.

He has a niece, Jenna, and swore if he had a daughter he was going to give her the same name because he just loved her so much.

He talks about his younger sister, born when he was a teenager, and how he loved helping take care of her, she was like a little doll. He is such a softie. I have often compared his personality with the kids to a grandma, because he is seriously that doting.

Obviously, I’m the mean one.

When we found out we were having a girl the next time around, I expected him to be thrilled. After all, Sammy wasn’t a month old before he was asking when I was going to give him a daughter. (you don’t want to know how that conversation went…. )

He was not thrilled. He was terrified. Hoping the ultrasound was wrong.

I was shocked. And kind of pissed at him. And thrilled because I “knew” it was a girl. I was ready for another girl after having boys the last 2 times.

the husband fretted about the responsibility of having a daughter…. I heard him muttering things about boys….and periods…. a bit overwhelmed.

We named her Jenna. And at first…. I worried that she wouldn’t get the same love from the husband that he gave to Sammy. I feared that he loved his first child so much, there couldn’t be room for another. Especially now that he seemed so scared of having a daughter.

As time has gone on, Jenna has made her place in the family. She is not gentle natured like her brother and her dad. She is bossy, and sassy…. and the tougher of our two little ones.

But still, it happened. He is a slave to her whims. He begs for hugs and kisses, and she doles them out very sparingly. She blatantly uses him to stay up late when I say no, or to get things I say she can’t have. He knows this, but he is powerless to tell her no. (that grandma syndrome again)

She is three now, and very secure in her dads affections.

And he has turned into a hair-styling, nail-polishing, awesome dad who is grateful for his boy and his girl, even if she is as prickly as a cactus sometimes.

When mom grows up

Sometimes, moms find a desire to do things for themselves. This can mean putting aside time for leisure activities, or exercise, maybe lunches or dinners out with friends….. Sometimes this can mean going back to school, or getting a job after being home with the kids for possibly many years.

Sometimes, having mom not always available is a bit shocking to the family.

Sometimes, moms get blamed for being “selfish”, because she finds an outlet that she enjoys, like riding a bike for example…… and it makes her feel good about herself, healthy, strong, and energized.

I see this happening right now.

I see a mom I’ve known for going on 20 years, finally starting to care about herself a little bit. She was so introverted when I met her, never left the house other than to take the kids to school or other events around the kids. She was painfully shy, and lacked all self confidence. She was always at home, so if I called, she was available to talk. I got used to this, her being there, and always available.

But then….

Some things happened in her life, out of her control. Things that have shaken her up, and made her take a good long look at herself. She realized she could no longer depend on anyone else to care for her, while she cared for the kids. She realized she would need to become more self reliant, more interactive with the world, more able to care for the kids financially as well as emotionally and physically. To be a better mom, a stronger mom.

Fast forward say 5 years…..

She has changed. For the better. Grown in confidence, believing for the first time that she is worthy. Of happiness, of enjoying herself, of pursuing her interests. She is working, going to school, and participates in a cycling group where she is seen as a leader. For the first time she is willing to be noticed! She’s growing in so many ways.

As I say that, I can admit that I have complained and nagged her about how she’s “never” available for me anymore…I don’t even call the house, I call her cell. She’s busy!! I realize that I looked at her as my faithful friend, always there on standby if I needed to talk. How unfair of me to expect her to stay in her box, so I can take her out when I feel like it, and put her back when I’m done.

I know her kids, now a teen and preteen. I know how much she loves her kids, and how much time she has dedicated to them. So imagine how they feel seeing mom changing, doing new things, and not being home as much….ready and waiting them.

They feel abandoned.

I believe it’s scary for them, seeing her go through these changes. Maybe they wonder if it’s because she’s not happy just being their mom? Maybe she doesn’t love them enough? Maybe she loves herself more than them?

It is so hard for people to deal with change. And I wish her kids could understand her love for them has inspired many of the changes she is now going through. She wants to be MORE…for herself AND them. And change is hard for everyone. She is very stressed now, juggling a full schedule, and has cried over how much studying she has to do, wanting more time to do anything else! Her goal is to find a balance again……and she will, but it might take a while.

One day they will be older, and realize her efforts were not selfish. I hope they look at her dedication to school for what it was, a dedication to her family and an effort to be the best provider for them. I hope they remember the painstaking hours she spends-still-making the ridiculously amazing birthday cakes for them, always originally themed and requiring hours of hand numbing decorating, because she refuses to get store bought. I hope they realize her bike riding is right now her therapy, a healthy way to relieve stress, clear her mind, and strengthen her body.

I know as they grow, they will understand. But right now they don’t, and it’s painful for everyone as mom grows up.

But keep watching…….

Mushy stuff

Here, take my heart.

Here, take my heart.

I am sitting with my husband, watching him fall asleep-still in his chair-at the dinner table.

He works so hard every day, and comes home late every night. His time is not his own, a slave to his pager.

He chose to practice medicine, and he is dedicated. Careful. Methodical. Brilliant.

So as I watch his eyes flutter over the cup of tea he probably can’t even taste right now, I tell him I love him.

Because I do.

It wouldn’t matter what he chose to do for a living, what matters is the way he commits himself to everything he does.

His job. Me. Our kids. Our life together.

I am grateful that we found each other. So thankful to have this time with him.

My favorite times lately are the evenings when he gets home while the kids are still awake. They hear the garage door open, and run around looking for a place to hide.

Daddy comes in the door, asking me where the kids are.

I tell him I left them at Costco, or maybe at the park…

“Oh no! I need to find them!”

They can hear us, and start to laugh as he pretends to look all over for them. They will either get too excited, and run to jump all over him, or he will rip off the blanket they are hiding under…. eventually they all end up laughing and tickling each other.

He thanks me for letting them stay up to see him.

And I find myself loving him even more.