Friday, January 30, 2009

My Only Sunshine

Dear Zoey,
I was planning on writing you letters for the future. A letter for the first time you hate me, for the first time your heart breaks, for the first time you realize that life is not fair, for the first time you fall in love, for the first time I disappoint you. I thought I had at least a decade to get these done, but over the past few days I have realized that it's too late. In April you will be three years old; already you have fallen in love, had your heart broken, realized that life is not fair. Already I have disappointed you in a thousand different ways that seem to me unflinchingly tiny, but to you are insurmountably large, the lenses of our hearts tilted as they are at different angles.
Yesterday I bought you a small heart-shaped box of cheap chocolates at the grocery store and told you we could not open them until we got home. I was driving on the freeway when I heard you in the backseat whispering, sorry mommy, I'm so sorry mommy. When I looked back your fingers were slick with chocolate and you were stuffing them in your mouth, two at a time. Zoey! I said, quite frankly surprised at your disobedience. But you did not stop, even when I yelled. You just kept apologizing, as if it couldn't be helped. Sorry, mommy. And there was nothing I could do.
It's been rough lately, between us. One minute you demand for me to hold you, grab my hand as I am eating so that you can pinch my skin absentmindedly, rice falling from my fork and into the grain of the carpet. You are my sunshine, I sing, you laugh, dance, but if I so much as tap my foot to the beat you scream, no! Quick like those wooden toys of small colorful animals, as if I have pushed my thumb into your base you collapse on the floor in a heap of limbs and loose string. Writhing, you actually writhe, and you scream and I cannot understand a word you are saying.
Another day, another car ride. It had been an emotional morning. I had a job interview to get to and you would not sit on your potty. The mere mention of pee reduced you to tears and you pushed me away, hard. Fine, I said, my interview boots clacking down the hallway, you get a time out. One minute later I returned to find you collapsed in a puddle of carpet-soaked urine and you clung to my neck, sobbing. I changed us both and we got in the car, the morning sun low on the horizon. Momma, the sun! you cried. The sun hurts my eyes! Momma move the sun! Move the sun! Help! And there was nothing I could do; it couldn't be helped.
Part of me wants to only write about the good stuff, how my heart jumps each time I encircle you in a hug and feel the smallness of your body, the way you flash your eyes when making a joke, the space between our faces when we nap together. But that wouldn't be right, wouldn't be fair to us. After all, we are mother and daughter, and there will doubtless be many times when we disappoint each other, surprise each other with how very human we are. But what I want you to know is this: the minute you came into this world my life reset itself to first. First love, first heart break, first friend, first family, first you. You first. If I could move the sun for you I would, because forever after you I have felt the weight of your light on my face, your warmth on my lips, and I have been driving with the sun in my eyes ever since.
All my love,
Your Mommy

38 comments:

katie. said...

I needed this today. I feel like Janie and I are so hot and cold lately. She loves me one minute and hates me the next. I get mad and yell, she pouts, then cries, and I apologize and feel horrible. And the worst part- she's only 4. What the HELL am I going to do when she's 15? (Besides drink heavily).

Lisa said...

SO beautiful! Thank you...

Sschraed said...

Loved this post...It's like you were writing about my life. We are going through the same exact things with our April 06princesses. I'm hoping it's just a terrible two phase but you are correct in everything you said..you have to take the good and the bad because there is definitely both :)
Sara

Aartee said...

So well written it almost made me tear up in my cubicle! Here's to mommy's and their little girls!

lessons said...

really beautiful.

Weitzell4 said...

Love, Love, Love this! You put my feelings in to words in a way I never could. My relationship with my 4 year old daughter is the same. Thanks for sharing.

Lara@Paper Doll said...

I have never heard motherhood summed up quite so perfectly. Beautiful and painful. At once not enough and too much.

zakary said...

Love it. So very true.

I took Zoe out for dinner the other night to celebrate the fact that she was the only one in second grade to get 100% on her spelling test. And she acted like a freak when we got home. Like sassing, slamming doors, etc. I wanted to pinch her face off. She got a stern talking to and I cried and got a stomach ache.

Petunia Face said...

Oh my God: "I wanted to pinch her face off." Zakary, that is genius.

Vanessa said...

What a beautiful thing to write to you daughter.

Good Enough Woman said...

Love this post! And I can reLATE. This morning, my three-year-old girl was sitting on the arm of the couch. I walked near her and she pushed me. So I pushed her back (very lightly, of course). And I got SUCH a scolding.

tara said...

I'm not a mother (yet), but I think you've definitely summed it up.

Jules said...

Very well said.

Paloma {La Dolce Vita} said...

I am moved to tears by the beauty of your words. It's never too late to write these letters to Zoe. What a treasure you are creating for your daughter. One day, your letters are sure to become her prized possession.

Anonymous said...

Ive never commented before but today I must. I thought I was the only one with this type of relationship with my daughter. The love of my life/pain in the ass!! Thank you for saying what Ive been feeling for 5.5 years now!

Jennifer said...

You love them even when you loathe them. The thing is, all she wants to do is please you. And I'm sure the feeling is mutual.

Oh and seriously, you are such a great writer. Really really great.

JackeeG4glamorous said...

I've got two daughters, and quite frankly, it's just how the relationships are to this very day. You love the very core of them, and then they still hurt your feelings or sass you and you want to mash their faces in. They'd call 911 now. After their visit to their therapist.

Charlee said...

Thanks for the cry at 5:03pm. You nailed it.

Suzanne : : S.HOPtalk said...

So glad to know I'm not losing my mind and that there are other "normal" mommies and daughters out there. A perfect post--truly!

Pat T said...

Oh how true and so eloquently put but please know, this is not just pertaining to little girls. You perfectly summed up my relationship with my just turned 5 year old little boy. I really needed this today. I too had my position eliminated in February of '08 and due to dificulty in finding marketing/Public Affairs jobs in these times and the cost of daycare for 2 little ones, we decided I would stay home at least until fall and the start of Kindergarten for my son.

My little girl just turned 2 so it will be a while for her to enter kindergarten and I likely will have to return to work before then, but then it will just be one in daycare and less costly.

I know I should love being home with them and most of the times I do, but there are days when I question whether I have the temperment to be a SAHM, as I find myself getting more frustrated with them sometimes and yelling a little more. They do the most wonderful things most of the time but then other times they just push buttons. And then I feel guilty for getting frustrated.

Glad to know from your post and other comments that I am not alone. I can grin and bear the meltdowns and know the precious times are just moments away.
Thank you for this post.

Anonymous said...

Wow... that was really lovely. Thank you.

the girL said...

So powerful. Some days I am on the fence as to whether or not I want to ever be a mother but the tears you just brought out have me on the yes side today.

Rosalie said...

Tearing up right now...oh wait, is that grammatically correct? Did I adequately communicate my thoughts, or did I just tell you that I was tearing something up?
Hmmmmm....

Melissa said...

That was the most beautiful thing I've ever read in my life.
Thank you, with a tear in my eye,
Melissa

Erin said...

I agree with Pat T -- this post sums up mother/son relationships as well. Another beautiful piece, S.

Gwen said...

wow! you always find a way to put my exact emotions into the most beautiful words! didn't mean to be crying on this gorgeous day, but how true and thoughtful your words are. amazing how they continue to love us no matter what!

Maggie May said...

oh honey i HEAR YOU. i was thinking about blogging a very similar emotion. it's so poignant it stings.

sara said...

wow- i've got goose bumps, tears and a big smile- you're brilliant. thanks for putting all my feelings into such beautiful words.

Anonymous said...

this brought tears to my eyes- thank you! - nina

Ms. Molly said...

Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing and being so real.

monkey said...

i just spent the weekend celebrating finn's first birthday and already i'm feeling the sticky little fingers of "life is not a tidy half-hour sitcom"...
and i realize that there is a reason they use twins in movies when dealing with children. because individually they are unpredictable and capable of blowing down the houses of cards without so much as a glance. i'm realizing the house of cards i made to protect finn doesn't stick together properly. she can see right through it.
*sigh*
you got me with this one.
~oh, and do you sing 'you are my sunshine' to zoey? that's the only song i've ever sung to finn that calms her down~

pve design said...

This is the exact reason I come here.
I get it. Only a mother could. Especially a mother of a girl.

Tracey said...

I might just print this post out and save it for my April06 daughter. It perfectly explains this part of our life together.

Robin said...

Wow. That was beautiful and honest and I loved it.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful writing. I thought you may like this link www.posttothefuture.com. Here, you can write letters (or send them your handwritten ones) and they will print and post them to whom ever you have chosen to receive it and at any future date. I have written letters which will be received by my family in years to come. I hope you all enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful and honest, you have an eloquent way with words.

Hill Country House Girl said...

You express so beautifully what so many of us feel about our daughters. In the blink of an eye, yours will be a teenager and you will have new challenges but pretty much all the same emotions. I miss my little girls but love the 15 and 20 year old young women that they are now.....and that fear thing, about living and dying......that is always there. What a precious gift you are giving your sweet girl.

sherri said...

dude. i'm totally tearing up here. only you and one other blogger do this to me, damn you. but....iloveyourwriting. ack.