Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Bella: Holding On To You

I am reading a book called 'Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers', and it has really impacted me. It says that the attachment between parents and child (Attachment Parenting) makes the difference for who your child chooses to follow- their friends or their parents. Sounds pretty basic, but for some reason this book has me riveted and seeing my attitudes towards you girls very clearly.
Motherhood has not always been easy for me, and at times I am ashamed at that. I see it as my own shortcomings that I am so easily irritated, impatient and intolerant. One of the things that this book has made me realize is how I push my kids away, literally. Bella, you are so sweet and affectionate and innocent in all the best ways. At 5 1/2 you still think I am the best, and the person you would most rather be with. You tell me often that you miss me all day at school. You want to be a 'car-rider' so you can be with me for that much more time. You want me to walk you to your seat in Primary every week, and always part everywhere we go with a hug and kiss. You love to cuddle and sit on my lap. You love it when I lay with you in bed before you go to sleep. It seems that having my undivided attention is your very joy. Writing this and pondering it, it is wonderful. What a blessing to have a child that is so fully enamored with me, so affectionate with her love, and still seeking my approval and love! And yet, more often than not I find it smothering and oppressive. I get irritated that you still want me to walk you to Primary and that you literally cling to me when I try and leave you. I seek solitude and personal space when you clamor to sit on me, and often treat you with indifference if not outright irritation. This is not to say that I do not love you with all my heart- it just shows, very painfully, my shortcomings. While reading this book however, it shook me to the core to realize that you are yearning so desperately for my unconditional love and approval, and if i continue to push you away, you will begin to seek it elsewhere. At some point you will push back and probably seek that approval from your peers instead of your parents. It is my job, and my joy to love you unconditionally, without reservation, and in so doing to give you the peace and reassurance and stability that will help you to grow into a confident and happy adult. My time with you as a child is short- already you are in school all day long, under the impression and supervision of other adults and many peers. It is likely that your adoration of me will wane if I do not warrant and deserve that adoration. You will not always be such a small and innocent child, willing to take my hand, to listen to me, and believe everything that I say. I want to keep you close, hold your hand, walk with you, teach you, keep you innocent and from growing up too fast. I do not want you to fall under the influence of other kids who would have you mature beyond your years, taking interest in things that are not appropriate or desirable. I love that you love the dolls I make for you and delight in playing with them and telling people about them. I love that you happily cry 'Mama!', running to me when you see me waiting at the door for you after school. I am glad that I am reading this book and that it has made me aware of these things. I vow to remember how precious this time is, and how fleeting- yet how eternal the effects of it are. You are my child, and it is my duty and blessing to teach you about unconditional love and your divine nature as a Child of God.
I love you, and I promise to kiss you and hug you and sit with you for as long as you will let me, and probably beyond.


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