When S gets very emotional or whiny, there is a moment after I look at her, and acknowledge her angst, that I ask her to "Say words." I'm asking her to tell me what's bothering her in her own words. It's our queue for her to wind down the emotion and use her brain to express it aloud. (Very important skill for little dramatic princess girls, who when left to their own devices can make a scrapped knee turn into hours of crying and fussing.) When S was smaller, I would translate her frustrations and emotions into what I thought she was feeling, but now that she's older she can "tell me" what's going on in her sweet child's brain.
She can express her own feelings and frustrations and thoughts and dreams to me now. It's a relief mostly--not guessing, but having her tell me--and her dreams are amazing and her thoughts are so inspired--another blog on that one. There are days in this new place that her verbal and cognitive developments are more of a burden, a weighty list of things I need to do, or places in her heart that I've failed her or her longings for a life that I cannot give her, or worst of all, her longings for a life that I've taken away from her.
How to Crush Your Mother's Soul 101
This week's been particularly difficult for her and for me. She's processing all of the changes that I have chosen for her. S told her grandmother, "Daddy doesn't love Mommy anymore." It was not a question but a statement of fact. Today little S didn't want to go to school. When I asked her why she said, "It's too far away from you. I just want to stay with you." Daggers. In. My. Heart.
I do talk through her thoughts and questions with her, of course. Those are parenting moments. All parents have those, I know. I ask her more about how she feels and what she thinks and what she knows. [That's been a really good question recently, "S, what do you know, as a fact, about [blank]?" Kids love to KNOW stuff.] She is processing and I am there Saturday through Wednesday to help her, to listen, to validate, to comfort, to confirm.
Being a part-time single parent is the hardest thing that I've done in my life to date.
It just hurts. It hurts to be away from my kiddo. It hurts to enjoy being away from her. The missing and the guilt is a swirling cyclone fueled by pure parental love. It's intense and extreme.
When I'm with her, I want to do nothing else but play and talk and sing and eat and bask in her loveliness. It sucks that we have to work and go to school and do laundry and cook and clean. I do try and get as much of that done as I can when she's away, but it's unavoidable that real life meddles with my time with S.
Today after her bout of "I don't want to go to school" we made a deal. We snuggled and looked at pictures for awhile and then we went on a breakfast date before school. Bagels, juice, some time just us--a break in the routine. It helped a little, I think.
I still feel alone and guilty and scared and it all hurts today. I'm glad I have these feelings. I'm not dead inside. I'm working through it--finding thoughts in the emotions, saying my words to start the process for healing and for getting better at this.