A little while ago I mentioned that my friend Jenn had a few things to say about Eliza’s rejection of my comforts when she first began childcare. I’ve been so busy and a little too preoccupied with sick kids to give the post I wanted to write enough thought but I’m committed to do it now.
Plus, it’s raining and I don’t have to water the garden.
Jenn just had a second baby. Her son is 3 years old so her children are spaced much closer together than Franklin and Eliza. They are both at home with her as well so her son was used to having his mother 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The transition to a new member of the family that needed more care from Jenn must have been quite a change for him so when she mentioned that she was going through something similar I was happy to get her opinion on things. Of course, add this to the fact that she’s incredibly insightful and a whole lotta cool and, well, I wasn’t surprised at her awesome reply.
Jenn mentioned that her son also gave her the cold shoulder for a while after her daughter arrived, and that her husband became the best thing since sliced bread. She mentioned that she had to mourn the lost bond between her and her son for a bit, but then admitted that it was for the best – although it still hurt to see him to turn to his Daddy instead of her.
However, what really showed me how incredibly insightful Jenn is as a mother and what really gave me an example of her beautiful ability to understand her children was the following quote from her email:
Before, we were so, so, so close that it didn’t really leave much room for Dylan. I now realize I wasn’t giving Dylan much of a chance to be a Dad, and in a way, that was holding Finn back. Finn has grown so much since Rosemary. He’s more independent. He plays nicer. He’s totally in love with Dylan. He’s redefined our relationship, and it’s been for the better. It’s been so good for Dylan too. He’s grown as a father too. He’s not just a play toy for Finn once in a while, but he’s actually taking care of his son. I didn’t realize that was missing from their relationship.
That part made me cry because every father wants to be a role model for their child and wants to take on such care but too many times I think society prevents them from believing this is their right and something they can be good at. Many times it’s even us, the mothers, who prevent this. We think we have to take the sacrifice and be the one who can understand our children like no one else. We held them inside our bodies, right? They were a part of us. It’s our job.
Jenn went on to say,
I guess in order to separate from you, kids need to hate you for a bit or something. Finn pushed me away, but he’s come back. It’s different and better. I know it’s all part of the growing-up process that will be repeated again and again. I can’t hardly wait for the teenage years. Ugh. I told myself it was normal, but it’s still heartbreaking. Shit, I never realized how much kids break their parents hearts.
She swears too. Girl after my own heart.
Anyway, you and Eliza will make it through this. Your relationship will be different, but probably better. I really think that parents sometimes hold their kids back for their selfish reasons, and it’s hard to see that. I know I wanted to hold Finn so close and thought it was really good for him, but now I see I was really doing it for myself. It sounds so cheesy, but to let them grow, you have to let go. Ugh. Again, with the heartbreak! I try and visualize the independent, secure, competent person I want Finn to be; that’s the goal anyway, and holding onto him too tightly won’t get him there.
Eliza and I did make it through. In fact, we are doing great as an entire family. What’s more? Dickson and Eliza are extremely close. He calls her his “Special Lady Friend” and every time he talks to her about their clandestine relationship I think about how lucky she is to have such an amazing father.