I started writing this post a few days ago, and then Adeline woke up and I had to walk away from it. Since then I had a moment of clarity in the midst of my confusion and doubt which has changed my thoughts (and this post) quite a bit.
Let me start by saying that when I was pregnant with Cordelia,I knew who she was. By that, I mean, I felt like I knew her personality, her soul. I couldn't tell you what she would look like, but I felt like I knew who she would be.
During those long eight and a half months I knew the child growing in my womb would love to dance, that she would climb everything and anything, that she would be loud and often impulsive, that color and noise and energy would swirl around her.
All of these things are true about her, there are times she has so much energy she seems to vibrate. She climbs her bookshelves, and scales our kitchen counters. She loves to move and dance, and there are many times when I have asked her why she did something and she would say "I don't know Mama".
I never could have anticipated how caring she would be. Cordelia has often arranged stuffed animals in groups so they wouldn't be alone, and it has been easy to teach her to look out for friends in new situations so they don't feel left out. The most upsetting part of watching Harry Potter wasn't the giant snakes or the dementors, but the sadness Hermione showed when Buckbeak died. And I was so surprised when she told us she was a little disappointed that we waited "so long" to tell her I was pregnant because "did you know all this time and that's why mama has been so sick?"
Cordelia and I have spent the last five years incredibly close- she has been my number one gal, my mini me but so much more.
I knew that this year would bring about a lot of change in our relationship- but I only thought that change would happen because Cordelia wouldn't be an only child anymore, I never anticipated how much school would affect us.
This is the first time Cordelia has spent the majority of day away from family- the first time I only had a vague idea of what she does all day instead of knowing exact details. She comes home and sings songs I don't know, and some days when I ask her about her day she gives me no details. She makes the facial expressions that her friends do, and uses expressions she didn't learn at home.
On top of all that she is downright mean when she gets home. Mean, argumentative, defiant. There is so much space between us and it's been heartbreaking and I've been struggling with the feeling that for the first time in her life I'm not sure I know her.
And that's the direction this post was originally going to go in- my feelings of sadness feeling like I was loosing my kid, that she was becoming someone I didn't understand. But yesterday she stayed home from school sick, and I read this article, and with some contemplation it clicked.
Cordelia is still here. In her post Kristen says
"Our home is their practice field. It is their learning ground. This is where I want them to get it wrong. The failures aren’t forever and they don’t define them–or me.
I live in this place –this close space of motherhood–where it’s easier to pick out what we get wrong and forget to acknowledge the countless things we get right."
For a moment I forgot that I am her safe space, I am the space where she gets to push her boundaries, I am the space she gets to let it all go, and right now that means that often I will see this tired, argumentative, difficult side of her because she spends so many hours being the child that I know she is when she is out in the world. I hope one day I will get to see that kid everyday again, but right now I am holding tight to the reminder that that's who everyone else gets to see and if that's the case, than I'm not failing after all.
"it’s hard to see the truth close up (especially on hard days), sometimes we have to step back for it to come into focus. It’s all in how we look at it, but we do have to stop and look"