I don’t know what was wrong with me last week, but I was emotional. Very emotional. At one point, I was hugging Clare and asking her to promise never to move away from me. Her response: “Noooooooooooooooo.”
Yes, that is the right answer, I know. And maybe when she is 18 I’ll be ready for her to get out of the house, but right now the thought makes me sad. I want her to stay my little girl forever, and she is just changing so fast. Sometimes it seems like she grows overnight.
I recently came across an article that says people without children are happier than people with children. (I know this theory has been floating out there for years. This is not news by any means.) It really hit home for me last week, though. I totally believe it is true. Parenting is hard. You lose control of your freedom (and your finances). Children are challenging. Every day is filled with small battles, especially when dealing with a strong-willed and opinionated 19-month-old. It can put a strain on your marriage. Lots of little resentments build up. And then your children grow up and leave you. Maybe they’ll call. Maybe they won’t. (And this is after dealing with the teenage years, which I don’t even want to think about.)
But to me, the hardest thing is the emotions. I love Clare so much, and I spend most of my time and energy making sure she is getting what she needs: food, love, education. I still do things for myself, and I am trying to remain a whole person who has varied interests, but really, I am a mom. That is my life right now. And some day it won’t be, but I’ll still have this love and I’ll still worry. I want Clare to go out and find her way in the world, but I know that means she will leave me behind. I know this is as it should be, but it makes me depressed, too. It is all so fleeting.
Can you tell last week was a long week?
I know though, that even if I might technically be happier without children, I wouldn’t trade Clare for anything. Despite all of the ups and downs and challenges that come with it, I love being Clare’s mom. I hope I can prepare her to be a functional, successful adult. And who knows, maybe she’ll decide she shouldn’t move that far away from her Mommy, even if I might not always be her favorite person in the world. After all, my mom is one of my closest friends. (And was even when I lived 250 miles away.)
Okay, enough of my blathering. I think this might all be brought on by the fact that I have not slept much lately. (Any other insomniacs out there?) It makes me emotionally unstable. I apologize. On a brighter note, here is a picture of Clare from last weekend, taken by my sister while we were all together to celebrate my mom’s 60th birthday. To make you hungry and want to cheat on your New Year’s resolution to eat less (I know I did!) I will leave you with a description of her birthday cake: rich chocolate cake filled with French chocolate cream, covered with chocolate fudge and chocolate ganache. Could anything be better?