Maria refuses to come home. She has been in Cincinnati since Friday morning when Maggie drove her down. Just six months ago, she would have cried for her mama after one night. Now, she tells me to stay in Columbus and not come get her. I can see why – she is getting pedicures and manicures from Aunt Ann, time to babysit Gracie, trips to garage sales with Aunt Julie and Terrie, and attention from her grandma and all of her cousins and other aunts. Columbus cannot compete.
It is yet another step towards independence just like her desire to ride her bike up the street all by herself. I remember dreaming about this type of independence when she was two and a half-years old throwing her binky at me one minute and pulling on me to hold her the next. But now it doesn’t feel quite right. She seems too young to be moving in this direction. I want that two and a half-year old back even if I have to take a binky in the forehead.
Ahh, but in thinking harder about it, I guess I don’t. I guess I just want the affection back, and the desire to take refuge in my arms. Intellectually, I know that how she is acting is healthy and a sign of confidence. I remember reading an article a while back that talked about kids’ confidence levels. A study had shown that kids who feel comfortable holding their ground with their parents (e.g., parent wants to leave but kid says she doesn’t want to leave) are typically more self-confident because their parents have given them the opportunity to not be fearful in standing their ground (now, there obviously comes a point where this self-confidence leads to bratty and obnoxious behavior and I am sure the study went on to find those kids are now occupying positions in Congress). I think of this study when Maria acts this way to me, and chant in my head “I have made her a self-confident girl…I have made her a self-confident girl….”
I wonder if I will feel as strongly when Mario begins to push away? Or is it just a mother/daughter phenomena? I harbor dreams of Maria changing this world in some way that suits her – I’d love if her suit involves curing cancer, feeding the poor, saving the environment. But she can’t stay snuggled under her mother’s bosom and achieve any of those aforementioned feats or others. I have the same dreams for Mario and can only assume, since he is glued to my hip, that I will feel much the same way when he decides to unravel the tie that binds us. Maybe this process with Ri will lessen the sting a bit with Mario. Or maybe it will be a different set of feelings that onset with that little guy. I should have another couple of years before I find that out.