sometimes i wonder if lucy only calls me mommy because she doesn't know my first name. because sometimes i think we're merely on a first-name basis.
today, lucy had a pretty big procedure done at the dentist and now she has a silver tooth. there was a lot of drilling and tools and it was all i could do to not cry for her. she was asked to remain still, and how hard that must have been for my 4 year old baby to do! she was brave and tough, but in the end, her emotions got to her (probably a side-effect of the nitrous gas) and she started crying and wailing and they had to shut the door to the room so not to scare all the other little boys and girls in this pediatric dentist's office.
i was convinced that she just needed to get the gas tubes off her nose, and the sunglasses off her eyes and then have a good cry, with mommy holding her and comforting her. i thought if she could just hold on to her tears and erupting emotions for a little bit longer, then mommy could sweep her up and hold her and rock her and soothe her.
i thought wrong.
the dentist had left and it was just the assistant doing some flossing and i asked if she could take off the gas (it just seemed like she was so claustrophobic, just like i was when i delivered her and protested when the nurse tried to put me on oxygen). since the procedure was over, they took off the mask, did some final clean up and lucy was able to sit up. but instead of collapsing into my arms and crying it all out, she immediately dried her eyes and asked if it was time to get a toy from the treasure box. she was further consoled when given her choice of a new toothbrush and some flossies. she chose a bouncy ball from the box and with a promise of chuck e. cheese next, she had all the comfort she needed, and didn't need anything from mommy.
i wanted her to know how it hurt me to see her struggle. i wanted her to know that watching her in pain hurt me and my compassion for her bubbled up in my tears. i wanted to give her love and show her care. i wanted to sweep her up and cuddle her fears and scares and wiggles away. i wanted to lavish, richly, my hugs and kisses. but, like her mom, she has a hard time receiving love. by omission of letting me do these things to her and for her, she pushed me away. by lucy comforting herself with bouncy balls and shiny toothbrushes, with gold coins for bright machines and lots of tickets for cheap prizes, i was left nameless. i wasn't mommy, or in other names: comforter, safe place, open arms, shoulder to cry on, wise one, gentle touch, compassionate one, taker away of pains and fears, of scares and unknowns. i was the babysitter. krista. the one who took her to and from her doctor's appointment and paid for pizza and prizes.
its hard for me to see that in her inability to receive my showering of love, while i feel pain, she's actually the one who is missing out. and like daughter like mother, i too am missing out on all the showering of love when i fail to receive it from those who so desperately want to give it.