Last week Lola was on spring break from the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ISBVI). I’ll be truthful and say I was not exactly thrilled with the idea of having both Lola and Sebastian home with me all day. I sort of lucked out when I had Sebastian because Lola was starting school that very same week. It was perfect timing actually. Lola would be at school for almost eight hours and that would give me uninterrupted time to bond with Sebastian. Remember, Lola wasn’t too keen on Sebastian’s arrival nor was she interested in sharing her mommy. In fact, she began to shun me in preference of her father. My heart was broken, but I was determined to win her love back and shockingly – spring break was exactly what we needed.
Sadly, I had spring break strategically planned. Everything from scheduling appointments for Lola simply to get out of the house to getting my butt back in the gym for her to be around other kids at Child Watch. I even went as far as planning what Lola would be doing when Rob left for work every morning because I knew she’d be franticly searching for him. So Monday morning Rob slipped out the front door while I was feeding Lola breakfast in the kitchen and just as I expected – Lola cried and cried and cried some more. She stood at various doors crying “da-da” for three hours folks. And just as it had been since Sebastian was born…there was nothing I could do to make her life any better. If anything, my very presence was annoying her. Unable to stand listening to any more crying and unwilling to shed any more of my own tears, I swept up both kiddos and trekked it to the YMCA. By the time we got home, Lola seemed to have forgotten Rob wasn’t there and sorry ol’ mom was starting to look pretty darn good after all.
Day two – no crying, no tears and no screaming for da-da. But because working out felt so good, I decided to take the kids to the YMCA again. Lola was ecstatic to be around the kids, Sebastian was getting acclimated to being around strangers and I was able to work out any anxiety I was feeling about the week. I know it sounds crazy. Believe me, I know it sounds crazy. I mean what mother isn’t excited to have her babies with her all day? But Lola and Sebastian already feed off of each other. I try to explain things to Lola so she can understand what is happening – “mommy is holding Sebastian so she can feed him” or “Sebastian is just a little tiny baby who doesn’t calm down as easily like my big girl Lola can”. Yet some explanations just don’t click for her yet. She simply sees me taking care of him and clearly she feels left out. And then there’s Sebastian. My lord I didn’t even know it was possible for a not even three month old to be jealous. They are just two kids fighting for attention and while I have so much love for them both, I only have two arms and a handful of sanity left.
By day three Lola started to come down with a nasty cold which meant I was the new hero in her life. Without her dad here all day, she had to settle for the only comfort she could get – and that was from me. The inherent desire to be near me tapered on into the evening even after her father would get home. Rather than following Rob around like manic Beatles fans once followed John Lennon, she began to seek me out – even sharing lap space with Sebastian. And I’m not too proud to admit I secretly loved that she was finally picking me. I know, I know I’m not supposed to be competing for my daughter’s love, but you just don’t understand the heartache I’ve felt for the last three months. It’s probably lame and pathetic how sensitive I became over this situation and I’m sure I’ll be shunned many more times as a parent, but getting her back felt awesome. It feels awesome.
What I learned last week was this – all kids just want to be acknowledged and they want to feel loved. Simple right? It’s not about the size house you own, how many toys you buy or how many trips to McDonald’s you make. Those tactics are for grandparents. Lola didn’t care I was breaking my back while attempting to throw her up higher than her father. She didn’t care that I was the one who would give her an extra couple of cookies after dinner. For her it’s about the warmth she feels from a hug, the comfort she experiences from her hands being tapped at night and it’s about the love that surrounds her when she needs it the most. While I thought I was fulfilling these needs, I realized she was taking a backseat to Sebastian after all. Now that he is getting more independent and much more tolerable of his dad, I’ve begun to mend a relationship that indeed needed mending. I thought I could juggle life with two kids and I am slowly. It hasn’t come easy, but nothing in life ever does. I thought I would walk into being a mother of two with ease, gracefully in fact, but it’s been a challenging yet enlightening process – one I’m sure I’ll never stop learning from. It’s a balancing act – responsibilities must be shared, hugs and kisses must be equal and love must be divvied. I’m just thankful I had spring break to show my daughter I could be the mom she needed me to be after all.
And if I gained all of this miraculous insight from one week, imagine how wise I’ll be after summer break is over.