With one pollen-dusted hand, she holds out yet another plucked flower for me, offered with all the sincerity of her six-year old heart. I am her mama, and she loves me. Until thirty seconds later, when I tell her no, and she suddenly hates me. The lip comes out, the brows draw down, and she transforms before my eyes. In a mere whisper, the glint in the eye turns from unicorns and fairy dust to the greatest abyss of disappointment and fury-tinted malaise ever known to humanity.
The risk of putting stock in the dreams of a mother before the reality of motherhood is something with which I am well acquainted. It didn’t take my boys a week to demolish the quaint and naive dreams I had of quietly rocking and nursing them to sleep, while birds chirped outside and dinner warmed in the oven. But this… this daughter thing… is a whole new level of deconstruction.
Who is this creature?
Sure, my sons get mad at me- fleetingly. No one digs being told “no”- but laying down and weeping on the stairs because of it? running to their rooms and slamming the door? AT SIX? Not a chance. Sure, I expected that as we rolled into the teen years somewhere far in the future. But she’s SIX!
The other day, she was sitting glumly in the corner. I asked what was wrong, and if I could help- she shrugged her shoulders, and looked away. I sat down next to her, put my arm around her, and drew her close. “Want to make something with mama?” She burst into tears. “Why are you crying?!” She wails that she doesn’t know. I understand this- and I hug her, and then leave her be- tell her to come find me when she’s ready. WRONG answer, mama! The wails become wretched “I’M SO SAD!!!”
But why, my dear, and what can I do?
Perhaps I am facing the crux of the complex and nearly universal mother-daughter relationship gorge. It seems the daughter I have is the one I am least capable of understanding, of relating to, or of meeting her unique needs. When I try and reach out to her in a way that feels intuitive to me, it’s almost always wrong, based on what she wanted from me. I’m left exasperated, and frustrated, and I know she must feel the same. Or so I assume.
This little female creature baffles me. I love her beyond all reason, and the idea of not being able to be more compassionate and tender to her needs frightens me. I want to understand her. I’ve taken pride in the strong bonds I have with my sons, and it worries me that I might be missing the key to the puzzle that is my daughter.
Anyone out there with some pointers or some good experiences or tips on mothering an emotional daughter, I’m wide open. Help me.