The One In The Middle

My oldest daughter and I share a look that causes us uncontrollable fits of laughter. Scratching out doodles, we compare and critique our art; crumple it up and start again. Playing with the dogs makes us happy; playing with the horse, euphoric. We duel comedic genius and sometimes she wins. She is my mini. I understand her as well as myself. We even have a secret handshake.

*draws the little heart sign in the air* “You complete me.”

My youngest daughter is mischievous and infectious. She’s a curly headed snuggle bunny who is plotting world domination behind her angelic smile. She wrinkles up her nose when she smiles, just like me. She draws pictures of me with big smiles, big circle feet and holding hands with a smallish circle with matching smile and feet. She claims I am her “B.F.F” and we have a secret handshake.

*draws the little heart sign in the air* “You complete me.”

My middle daughter. She’s been a pain in the buttocks since birth. Logical minded, powerfully strong willed and everything opposite of me. We don’t have a secret handshake, because we are too busy bumping heads.

*draws line across throat* “You are going to be the death of me.”

I try. When I’m not yelling, tossing back some Excedrin Migraine or praying for sweet deliverance; I try.

We were talking about the story of The Prodigal Son last week and she got real excited about the part where the father throws a party for his son that has returned. She wanted to know if I would throw her a party like that and then reminded me of every party or special thing I have tried to do for her that has failed her expectations. ALL THE THINGS. I reminded her that the prodigal was a son that had ran away and she’d have to do that first. We both stomped away in disgust from each other.

99% of the time I have to look at her like she is an alien in our home. 99% of the time I think she looks at me like a planet that should be destroyed. I don’t know how to parent her and she doesn’t want me parenting her. At least we have common ground.

I love this child. With the last deep breath I could take and the final beat of my heart; I love this child. I can’t reach her; I can’t even get in her mental zip code. I struggle to like her most days as she seems determined to undermine my best intentions, challenge my authority and points out my every flaw.

She slams her door and screams like a banshee at the slightest issue. The times I have tried to play (more like pick at her for humor or prank purposes) it hurts her feelings and she wails how much I hate her. I stare at the still shaking slammed door and wonder “who the heck is this child and how does she possibly have my DNA in her?”

I had this laughable notion that all my daughters would be just like me and we would skip through flowery fields, holding hands in our matching sundresses in some mother/daughter blissful state of mind. This child though…she has reminded me that most fields contain piles of poo and poo sticks to skipping feet. Loving her is messy.

One day perhaps I will decode this encrypted relationship and….*draws the little heart shape in the air*

Until then, she keeps me grounded in real motherhood and forces me to flex how I love. Digging deep into my resources to prove love is a verb and a constant changing of comfortable or complacent actions. The one in the middle is like hugging a cactus; it hurts sometimes.

One day I will learn her language and it will feel like we’ve come home as Prodigals. We will have a party when she finally learns that love was there all along and all the slamming doors and “I hate you” have changed nothing. From the moment that I found out I was pregnant with her; she was mine and I am hers. Thorny, fiery and wild; she completes me.cactus hug

Categories: October 2013 entry

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7 replies

  1. And frankly, the logical one …….I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… i LOVE that kid. She cracks me up! There is more of you in there than you realize. The dry, completely straight face as she delivers a scathingly sarcastic cut….the sweetness as she methodically cares for those she loves. You’re in there.

  2. I was thinking the same thing. I tell my self SO. MANY. TIMES….I love him, I do,I really do.
    This sounds like me and our “middle” He’s almost 4. He’s only in the middle, because he’s not in school like the 2 big kids, but not a baby like the 18m old. I feel like you so many days & am trying hard to find new ways to parent this one, but it’s still a mystery. I think they only time I speak his language, I when I just act wild and crazy.

  3. She marches to her own drum. All I can see is the first of the girls to run and hug me and spend the night with her new found Memaw. They are all my girls worts and all. I love them with all my heart. Love ya

  4. Having witnessed your interactions with ALL your minions firsthand I would say you are doing better than you think! Yes Annie and Gracie are easier but you and Bella love each other and it shows!

  5. Oh Alycia… I know exactly what your going through. I won’t go into details but everything you wrote, I could write myself. At least you get “I hate you”. I have 3 of mine who wont even look at me, talk to me or acknowledge that I exist. One has told many that he no longer considers me as mom. He’s 13! I’ve struggled with this for a few months or more. Its breaking my heart daily. Today while doing dishes, no help, no thank you mom for dinner, no clearing of the table or offering to fold a load of laundry… I am their slave. All I could do is fight back tears of abandonment of my children. I love them so much. We all love our children unconditionally. But damn does it fricken hurt! Darn i went into details.. Im sorry.. I just understand.. I really do. Hugs sister….

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