J. driving through the snow at the end of Christmas day, me crying silently in the passenger seat, and then he sees the tears gleaming in the soft orange streetlights. He asks what's wrong and the words claw their way up my throat, burning as they go. "She hates me!"
The rational explanation for this charming scene is that S is going through a quite normal developmental stage of preferring one parent (obviously not me) to the other. I'm trying to be mature about this, but the fact is it really hurts my feelings and I'm starting to have trouble dealing with it. Spending several full days with S. over the holidays made it clear she doesn't only prefer J. - anyone is better company than I am.
I don't really write about my relationship with my family of origin to respect their privacy, so I'll just say I have an awkward relationship with my mom in particular. She's not comfortable communicating in my love language and I often question to this day whether she loves me at all. She certainly doesn't like me much. So I was excited to be having a girl - here was the chance to be the mother I wanted.
Yet every time I try to cuddle S. or kiss her, she twists away, looking for something fun to do, anything other than sit in her mommy's lap for a few minutes. I know this is probably normal for an 18-month-old, especially my busy little bee. And how wonderful that she has a daddy she adores and who lights up every time he sees her.
But my heart aches anyway.