My little girl needs a lot of love, and needs to feel it and see it and touch it. In random moments throughout the day, she runs up to me and just says simply, “Momma!” To which I reply as part of our banter, “Yes, Momma?” and then she says, “I need some Momma.” To which I know means she needs a hug, or kiss, or cuddle. She gets it and then runs off to complete her task. I love those moments. It’s like she comes in for refueling. Or to re-ground herself. It’s like she does a self-check and knows she needs a little something, whether it be soothing or affection or connection or validation. And she uses her words to get what it is that she needs. When she’s refueled, she goes about her business.
I love this also because it connects us. The Boy is 10 now, and he rarely connects with me. He is mostly buried in his books or slaying dragons and Darth Vader with sticks and light sabers and plastic muskets. His way of connecting with me is asking if the laundry is done because he’s out of socks, or if he can have money to buy treats for the horses at the barn, or by offering up an errant loving and stinky fart. I miss my cuddly, non-smelly connections with him from days of old. But La Chica, she still cuddles and connects. I love the warmth of her body and softness of little-kid-skin and the wetness of her kisses on my nose. She’s like a less-hairy puppy. And she’s potty-trained so it’s a bonus.
But my heart broke and my breath got caught in my throat the other night. We walked into her ballet studio and walked towards the dressing room to peel off layers of winter clothes to get to her leotard and tights. At the door, she turned to look at me and said, “No Momma, it’s OK. You don’t have to come in with me anymore.”
I just stopped in my tracks. “What? I know I don’t have to. I know you dress yourself, but I want to…”
“No Momma. Don’t come in. I don’t need you in there anymore. I don’t want you in there with me. Please. I want to go in there by myself,” she pleaded.
My. Heart. Broke.
I know, individuation is a good and positive thing. Independence is a good thing. Using her words is a good thing. Reminders that our children are growing and will leave us soon is not always such a positive warm feeling, unless you’re on the third consecutive snow day. I know from a child development perspective, this is all quite healthy and positive. From a Momma standpoint, this is really sad. I fully understand that our children grow away from us with literally each step. I fully understand it is not only our job, but our honor, to teach them the skills to be able to do so successfully. I get all that. And I work hard to do that. But damnit if it doesn’t hurt.
I need some Momma.